The Miami Heat will have at least one player representing them at the delayed 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Bam Adebayo has accepted an invitation to participate in his first Olympics, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, after averaging a career-high 18.7 points per game this season.
The one-time All-Star center was named second-team All-Defense and finished fourth overall in Defensive Player of the Year voting. Adebayo was one of the few players on the Heat roster to stay relatively healthy all year as he played in 64 games. He shot 57% from the field and pulled down 9.0 rebounds per game. He also took on a noticeable leadership role after inking a five-year, $163 million contract extension with Miami in 2020.
“I’m enjoying this process of seeing him grow as a leader,” Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra said of Adebayo in February. “It’s absolutely required with this group that he leads. And he’s learning to do it in different ways. Sometimes, it’s demanding. Sometimes, it’s hard. Sometimes, it’s encouraging. Sometimes, it’s uplifting, elevating guys, helping them feel more confident.”
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Jimmy Butler Skipping Tokyo Olympics
Heat star forward Jimmy Butler has decided to skip the Tokyo Olympics, per Sun-Sentinel’s Ira Winderman. His name was on the initial list of invites to join Team USA but the five-time All-Star would prefer to rest his 31-year-old body for next year.
Butler averaged 21.5 points, 6.9 rebounds, 7.1 assists per game this season while leading the league in steals (2.1). He was named third-team All-NBA despite missing 20 games due to injury and COVID-19 protocols. He did win a gold medal for Team USA at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
“This isn’t just for me. It’s for everybody, my family, my friends, our country. It’s big. This is what we came for,” Butler said of winning the gold medal in 2016. “This is incredible. It’s really big. Not just for me, but for everybody that got that gold and for our country as a whole.”
Filling Out Team USA’s Olympic Roster
So which players have signed on to make the trip to Tokyo? Eleven guys have applied for passports: Adebayo, Jayson Tatum, Kevin Durant, James Harden, Draymond Green, Kevin Love, Khris Middleton, Bradley Beal, Devin Booker, Jrue Holiday, Damian Lillard.
San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich will guide them during training camp in Las Vegas on July 6. They will need one more player to fill out the 12-man roster. Team USA has struck gold in the last three Olympics and once again enter as the odds-on favorites to win.
One notable absence from Team USA this year will be LeBron James. The former Miami Heat star joked that he was playing for the “Tune Squad” this summer since his remake of Michael Jordan’s classic “Space Jam” movie opens on July 16. The film is titled “Space Jam: A New Legacy” and cost Warner Bros. Pictures an estimated $150 million.