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#pounditSaturday, February 4, 2023

Articles tagged: Team USA Basketball

Kyrie Irving says he almost played for Australia until Coach K intervened


Cavs guard Kyrie Irving has emerged this summer as one of the foundational young talents of USA Basketball. But he actually once came dangerously close to not even being eligible for the roster.

In an interview with Michael Lee of The Vertical on Wednesday, Irving, who was born in Australia and spent the first two years of his life there, said that he almost accepted an invitation to play on the Australian under-18 basketball team as a 17-year-old, which would have made him ineligible to suit up for the United States in future international play. It was only the intervention of Mike Krzyzewski, who would later become Irving’s college coach at Duke, that prevented him from doing so.

“It was very serious,” Irving said when asked how close he came to playing for Australia. “It was a legit thing, until Coach K intervened. He strong-armed me. As a young fella, he did tell me I had a chance to be a part of something bigger than myself. He said, ‘You could be the starting point guard on the U.S. Olympic team.’ I never thought it would happen as soon as it has, but I had aspirations and dreams of being a guard on an Olympic team.”

Now 24, Irving is indeed the starting point guard for Team USA under Krzyzewski at the Rio Olympics and is confident in his ability to help lead the squad to the gold medal. And as Irving spins, shakes, bakes, and splashes his way around dumbfounded international opponents this August, it looks like we have Coach K to thank for having the foresight to see Irving’s limitless potential some seven years ago.

USA Basketball players accidentally visited brothel in Rio


USA Basketball’s time in Rio apparently is off to a rather interesting start.

According to a report by TMZ Sports on Friday, some of the members of the team, including DeAndre Jordan, DeMarcus Cousins, and DeMar DeRozan, went for a night out in the city on Wednesday and wound up accidentally visiting a brothel thinking that it was a spa.

Termas Monte Carlo in the Copacabana district of Rio was the venue in question. The report goes on to state that the brothel will tell customers over the phone that it’s a spa that plays music, has a full bar, and only serves male patrons. The players are said to have immediately left after realizing the true nature of the business.

You’d think that at least somebody on the team would’ve had the foresight to Google the place beforehand. Maybe these are the types of hindrances that Kyrie Irving forgot to account for. Oh well.

Image Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

H/T SFGate via NBA Reddit

Confident Kyrie Irving says ‘nothing’ could hinder Team USA gold chase

Kyrie Irving

Kyrie Irving is feeling quite good about Team USA’s chances at the Rio Olympics.

Irving told reporters that he doesn’t really see any reason why the Americans should be tripped up in their chase for a gold medal.

“I don’t know…nothing,” Irving said Thursday when asked what could stop Team USA, via Michael Lee of the Vertical. “Honestly, that should be our attitude. If things get hard, we should be able to withstand it. And we’ll be ready for anything.”

Is Irving right? Well, yes. Rationally, nobody should really be able to challenge Team USA. That doesn’t mean, however, it’s a foregone conclusion. There are a few teams that could, conceivably, throw the Americans off on their quest. They’re right to be confident, but avoiding overconfidence and complacency will be vital.

Four countries that can compete with USA Basketball for Olympic gold


Team USA rules over the international basketball landscape with an iron fist. A starting lineup of Stephen Curry, James Harden, Kawhi Leonard, LeBron James, and Anthony Davis with Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook, and Blake Griffin coming off the bench would probably be a shoo-in for the gold medal, not just in basketball, but in handball, judo, synchronized swimming, and the triathlon as well. Instead, those are all players who WON’T be suiting up for the good ol’ US of A at the Olympics this year. But the bad news for the rest of the world is that America’s 12-man junior varsity roster still boasts a combined 33 All-Star appearances, 24 All-NBA honors, 10 All-Defensive Team selections, five scoring titles, and Harrison Barnes. USA Basketball has blasted opponents by an average margin of victory of 43 points in five exhibition contests, and, realistically speaking, nobody, not Papua New Guinea, not Mordor, not Vanessa Carlton, has a Drummond’s chance at the free throw line of stealing the gold away from them.

But is anything really that guaranteed, especially in a world where the foul stench of bronze in the 2004 Athen Games still reeks about as badly as the Zika-infested Brazilian countryside and where the ineradicable mental images of Draymond’s donkey may have traumatized the entire team into a permanent state of mediocrity? For the sake of competitive spirit (something that one lanky small forward for Team USA could use a lesson in), here are the four countries best suited to compete with America for basketball gold in Rio.


Perhaps the lone Achilles’ heel for USA Basketball is the relative lack of experience at the Olympic level. Kevin Durant and grumpy grandpa Carmelo Anthony are the only two players on the roster with any prior Olympic experience whatsoever. That’s not going to be a problem for the Baltic nation of Lithuania, a team returning six members from their 2012 squad that competed at the London Games. They’re also coming off a strong recent performance on the international stage, making it all the way to the championship game against Spain in EuroBasket 2015. The team is led by Raptors center Jonas Valanciunas, a smooth post-up/pick-and-roll player who is battle-tested against the NBA’s top talent and who may be the team’s most effective weapon against DeMarcus Cousins considering his knack for baiting Boogie into near-ejections.