Team USA Basketball has a loaded roster for the upcoming Olympic Games this summer, but despite this, there’s one player head coach Gregg Popovich says is essential.
In an interview with media members, Popovich said that he would have done just about anything to get Kevin Durant on the roster.
“If he said no, I would have begged, cried, done anything I could to change his mind. That’s pretty obvious,” Popovich said. “He loves to win. He loves the camaraderie. He wants to be part of this all the time, as we all know. And that’s his motivation. At the core, that’s what he loves to do. And luckily for all of us, that’s who he is.”
Durant is coming off an outstanding comeback season with the Brooklyn Nets, where in 35 games, he averaged 26.9 points, 7.1 rebounds and 5.6 assists per game. During the playoffs, Durant was the main catalyst for the Nets, able to help push their Eastern Conference Semi-Finals with the Bucks to seven games.
This will be Durant’s third time representing Team USA in the Olympics, doing so in 2016 and 2012, both times the USA left with a gold medal. Popovich will be coaching the team for the first time in the Olympics as head coach, taking over from Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski in 2019.