Keldon Johnson isn’t on Twitter, so he was one of the last people at Team USA’s training camp in Las Vegas to find out that the has been added to the Olympic team, writes Joe Vardon of The Athletic. Johnson and JaVale McGee were announced as replacements Friday after Bradley Beal was sidelined by health and safety protocols and Kevin Love withdrew over concerns about his injured calf.
“(Team USA managing director) Jerry (Colangelo) came up to me and he kind of broke the news to me,” Johnson said. “I mean, I was lost for words. I didn’t really know what to say but thank you for the opportunity and trust in me to go over there and take care of business with the other guys.”
Johnson came to Las Vegas as a member of the U.S. Select Team, which scrimmages against the Olympians in training camp. He got a chance to play during exhibition games because team members Devin Booker, Jrue Holiday and Khris Middleton are all taking part in the NBA Finals.
Johnson originally signed up for a four-day commitment as part of the select team, but now his Olympic experience will last until the Games conclude on August 8. He said the best part so far was breaking the news to his family, many of whom have military experience.
“My mom cried, my dad was choking up a little bit, everybody was like, because you know you pray for moments like this,” Johnson said. “… It was a special moment.”
There’s more on the Olympics:
- As rumors swirl around Damian Lillard‘s future in Portland, the loss of Beal means he will have to take on a greater responsibility for scoring, Vardon adds in a separate story. Lillard and Kevin Durant will be the focus of the offense as the team heads to Tokyo next week. “I wouldn’t say carry the team, but obviously we’ll have significant roles on the team,” Lillard said. “I think myself and KD will have to go over there and play a significant role, and we’ll have to do what we do, but I don’t look at it like we have to carry the team. It’s a team of the best players across our league.”
- Preparing for his first Olympics, Jayson Tatum is still adjusting to the international rules, per Darren Hartwell of NBC Sports. Tatum said players have been reminding each other of the differences during this week’s exhibition games.
- Team USA is still slated to close its exhibition schedule Sunday night against Spain. Friday’s game against Australia was canceled due to “an abundance of caution” relating to COVID-19.