Team USA will play in the gold-medal game later today against Serbia. The Serbian team, which only has one NBA player on the roster (Nikola Jokic), is led by Milos Teodosic, who is one of the best guards in Europe and could easily play in the NBA. As we await the highly anticipated match-up, let’s take a look at some notes surrounding Team USA:
- Mike Krzyzewski, who will coach his last game for Team USA today, has helped Kevin Durant deal with some of the backlash of signing with Golden State, Marc Stein of ESPN.com writes. “He’s more of like a father figure slash mentor than he’s a coach,” Durant said. “On top of being a coach, when you have that combination, that makes for just an incredible leader.”
- NBA players have truly embraced playing under Krzyzewski, Stein adds in the same piece. “I hate to say it [as a Kentucky guy],” DeMarcus Cousins said. “But I really have enjoyed playing for K.” Durant never considered playing for Coach K in college, but after his Team USA experience, he wishes he had looked at that option. “Once I got to play [for] him, I was like, ‘Wow, I should have looked at Duke a little bit more than I did,” Durant said.
- Being together on the 2008 gold medal team fortified the bond that Chris Paul, Carmelo Anthony, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade share, Michael Lee of The Vertical writes. “I think, being on the team in ’08, it kind of brought us together a little bit more and we started to realize what was important and what wasn’t important and taking those things into consideration, of forming that brotherhood that people didn’t want to see,” Anthony said.
- James recently said that he wouldn’t rule himself out for the 2020 Olympic games and Anthony would welcome playing with him again if they both travel to Tokyo four years from now, Lee writes in the same piece. Anthony hasn’t yet decided whether he will play in those games. “That’s too far ahead for me be thinking,” Anthony said. “That’s too far ahead. This decision was hard to come back this year. I think it was just the timing of what was going on in the world, what was happening here [in Brazil], what was happening in our country. Also taking into consideration family, or being healthy.”
- Anthony will likely become the most decorated Olympic men’s basketball player ever with a win in today’s championship game and the 32-year-old wouldn’t trade his international success for a ring in the NBA, Lee passes along in the same piece. “I wouldn’t trade, hopefully my three gold medals, in for nothing,” Anthony tells Lee. “I always say, ‘Winning is winning is winning.’ No matter what level you win on. Hopefully, I do get an NBA ring, but that’s two things.”