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Paris Olympics: Will Team USA Snub Lead Kyrie Irving to Australia

Team USA guard Kyrie Irving guard looks at Australia forward Joe Ingles in the Rio Olympics

This week, Team USA Basketball revealed star-studded 12-man roster for the Paris Olympics.

Headlined by Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James, Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry, and Phoenix Suns swingman Kevin Durant, the U.S.’s men’s basketball team is putting forth maximum effort to bounce back on the world stage. Following a fourth-place finish in the 2023 FIBA World Cup, it was to be expected. However, while there’s no doubt Team USA Basketball Director Grant Hill put together an outstanding team for the upcoming Olympic Games, there’s at least one player that seems to believe they should have had more of a chance to make the cut.

Will Team USA Snub Lead Kyrie Irving to Australia?

On Thursday, Dallas Mavericks star Kyrie Irving felt inclined to speak out about Team USA’s selection process, saying:

“I grew up in a time when we actually had to try out for USAB, and we did meet up as a group and as peers, and there was a mutual respect that we earned from one another, and trying out, and then seeing what five meshed well…” (h/t’s Grant Asfeth)

To Irving’s point, Team USA held tryouts for the Olympic roster for two decades. However, Hill stopped that process last year. Players don’t have to make multi-year commitments either.

Per ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, these changes were already on the precipice under former USA Basketball director Jerry Colangelo. At the time, the restrictions were being eased as the world adjusted to the COVID-19 pandemic.

As those restrictions have been eased in recent years, it’s somewhat surprising USAB is still moving in that direction. Nonetheless, with Irving not listed on Team USA’s roster even after advocating for a spot, one has to wonder if he’ll let the situation go so easily.

That isn’t to say that Irving will make a private plea to Hill to give him a chance to make the roster. He very well could but, out of respect for his NBA peers, this seems a bit unlikely.

However, with Australia no longer having Brooklyn Nets point guard Ben Simmons in their Olympic plans, perhaps there’s a spot for Irving there.

Australian at Heart

Though Irving has only played for the U.S. national team, he was born in Melbourne. As a result, Irving is a naturalized citizen of Australia. With that, he could seek to play for Australia’s national team, the Boomers.

Notably, in 2018, Irving addressed his desire to play for Australia in the 2012 London Olympics:

“I’d like to be part of the culture here,” Irving would say, per Fox Sports. “Do something special for Australian basketball.”

The Best Boomer

Australia placed third in the 2020 Olympics, their first time medaling in 15 appearances. There are several NBA players on the roster, including: Mavs teammates Dante Exum and Josh Green; former Cleveland Cavaliers teammate Matthew Dellavedova; Orlando Magic forward Joe Ingles; and Oklahoma City Thunder playmaker Josh Giddey.

With the Boomers, Irving would likely become the go-to scorer. To that point, he’s averaged 25.7 points per game on 48.8 percent shooting from the field and 40.1 percent shooting from 3. One of the most gifted shot-creators in NBA history, Irving’s scoring process exceeds anything that Australia has ever had.


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