Golden State Warriors stars Stephen Curry and Draymond Green have been recruited by no less than their longtime on-court rival, Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James, to join forces next summer to continue Team USA’s supremacy at the Olympics, according to The Athletic.
James, who won two Olympic golds in 2008 and 2012, views the Paris Olympics next year as a “last dance,” Shams Charania and Joe Vardon of The Athletic reported on Monday.
LeBron James, a three-time Olympian, two-time gold medalist and the NBA’s all-time leading scorer, has so strong an interest in one more Olympics that he is ready to commit for next summer and has also called multiple stars to essentially recruit them to join him with USAB in Paris, multiple league sources told The Athletic.
James has spoken to Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Anthony Davis, Jayson Tatum and Draymond Green, and they are all prepared to commit as well. Separately, Phoenix’s Devin Booker, Portland’s Damian Lillard, Sacramento’s De’Aaron Fox and Dallas’ Kyrie Irving also have serious interest in committing, league sources said.
James’ effort started well before the USA World Cup team, led by Anthony Edwards and Mikal Bridges, lost at the World Cup and was not related to whether this summer’s team won or lost. While the American national team has struggled at the last two World Cups, the program has won four consecutive golds at the Olympics.
Curry has never played in the Olympics but has won two FIBA World Cup golds in 2010 and 2014. Green has won two Olympic golds in 2016 and 2020.
Team USA has struggled in the last two editions of the FIBA World Cup, with this year’s team placing fourth in Manila, Philippines.
“The game has been globalized over the last 30 years. These games are difficult. This is not 1992 anymore. Players are better all over the world. Teams are better. It’s not easy to win the World Cup or the Olympics,” Team USA and Warriors coach Steve Kerr said after losing to eventual World Cup champion Germany in the semifinals over the weekend.
But if James and Curry spearhead a star-studded Team USA next year in Paris, winning another Olympic gold will be relatively easier.
Steve Kerr Pushes Back on Small Ball Criticisms
Kerr pushed back at the criticisms of Team USA’s small ball play under him that ultimately fell short in the 2023 FIBA World Cup, where they finished fourth.
“I think it’s a worthwhile point of discussion, but the discussion has to go to, ‘OK, then who is that?” Kerr said over the weekend, per The Athletic. “You can’t just say, we’re going to have size for size’s sake. You have to have players who are going to help you win, and you have to determine who those guys are. It’s not just the size, it’s the way the game is played.”
“I think for this team, our commitment has been there and the character is unquestioned,” Kerr added. “We’re all so committed to the cause, but our defense wasn’t good enough. But I don’t think it’s as simple as saying it’s just size. I think you have to examine who you’re talking about if you go down that path.”
Warriors Renames Media Work Room in Honor of TV Analyst
The Warriors announced on September 5 that they will name the media workroom at Chase Center the Jim Barnett Media Center to honor the legendary broadcaster’s 37-year career with their coverage team.
Barnett retired in 2019 after spending 34 years as the TV analyst for Warriors games. He spent the last three seasons on the Warriors broadcast radio booth.
Before his broadcasting career, Barnett played 11 seasons in the NBA, including three with the Warriors.
“It will be quite an honor to have the media workroom at Chase Center named after me,” said Barnett in a statement. “I’ve spent countless nights in media rooms across the league during my time as a broadcaster, including in both Oakland and San Francisco, and have formed many wonderful relationships in this space. I really appreciate this tribute, value the 40-plus years I’ve been with the organization as a player and broadcaster and look forward to continuing on this journey as a Community Relations Ambassador for the Warriors.”
“The name Jim Barnett has been synonymous with Warriors Basketball over the last four decades,” said Warriors President & COO Brandon Schneider. “His passion for the game was palpable on every single broadcast, spanning from Sleepy Floyd to Stephen Curry, and his love affair with the Warriors is second to none. We’re excited to bestow him with this honor, thank him for a job that was incredibly well done and look forward to working with him in his role as a Community Relations Ambassador.”
The Jim Barnett Media Center will be unveiled on November 1, when the Warriors host their Western Conference rival Sacramento Kings at Chase Center.