Kobe Bryant and LeBron James are returning to lead Team USA in the London Olympics, but the squad has a decided Oklahoma City feel. Thunder forward Kevin Durant and guards Russell Westbrook and James Harden also made the team, marking the first time in history that three NBA teammates are suiting up for the USA.
"It means a lot," Harden said. "It shows all the hard work that we put in. I know these guys (Durant and Westbrook) were already on the team, but just me as a late addition, it's definitely a dream come true. Just being a great, humble workaholic, a great character guy, that's what has gotten me to this point."
Durant was named tournament MVP for the 2010 USA World Championship squad that went 9-0 and captured gold in Istanbul, Turkey. His involvement in USA basketball began in 2006, when he was named a member of the U.S. team at the Nike Hoop Summit.
"This is a great opportunity for me to up my leadership skills," Durant said. "I'm one of the younger guys on the team, but I think they all respect me and really listen."
Westbrook also was on the squad that won gold in Istanbul. Additionally, the guard participated in the 2009 USA Men's National team minicamp after being named to the USA Basketball Select team in 2008.
"Leadership can be a big thing, especially watching and learning from a lot of different players," Westbrook said. "You always have to stay going. That's my job, and that's what I do. Just keep on going until I make sure everybody is on the same page."
Harden, who was added as a finalist on May 3, joins the Clippers' Blake Griffin as the only other newcomer on the 2012 U.S. Olympic team men's basketball roster. The third-year guard was named the NBA Sixth Man of the Year after leading the league in bench scoring at a 16.8 points per game.
Copyright (C) 2012 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.