Kawhi rounds out star-studded Team USA Olympic squad

Kawhi rounds out star-studded Team USA Olympic squad

Los Angeles Clippers star Kawhi Leonard will fill the 12th and final roster spot on Team USA for the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Leonard’s addition caps off a loaded squad that’ll also feature LeBron James, Stephen Curry, and a host of other top-tier American talent in Paris this summer. The final list was confirmed by USA Basketball early Wednesday.

“It’s an honor to introduce the 2024 USA Basketball men’s national team,” USA Basketball managing director Grant Hill said in a statement. “I’m grateful to these 12 men for their commitment to represent USA Basketball.

“The United States is home to some of the best basketball players in the world, and I appreciate the vast interest in being part of this roster. These decisions weren’t easy, but it was a pleasure to go through the process and reach this outcome.”

Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr will return behind the bench for the U.S. and will be flanked by assistants Mark Few of Gonzaga, the Clippers’ Tyronn Lue, and Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra.

This will be the first time Leonard represents USA Basketball at the senior level. The six-time All-Star was one of the final cuts for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics and 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

This has been Leonard’s healthiest season as a Clipper. He eclipsed the 2,000-minute mark for the first time since the 2018-19 season when he was a member of the Toronto Raptors. Leonard, 32, is averaging 23.7 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 3.6 assists in 68 games with Los Angeles this campaign.

The Americans will almost certainly be in the mix for gold, which would mark their fifth straight first-place finish at the Summer Olympics.

However, it won’t be a straightforward tournament for the U.S., which will face Serbia – with two-time MVP Nikola Jokic likely in tow – in its tournament opener. Olympic debutants South Sudan will also join them in Group C, as will one of the teams competing in July’s Olympic qualifying tournament in San Juan, Puerto Rico: Mexico, Ivory Coast, Lithuania, Italy, Bahrain, or Puerto Rico.

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