Additional Quotes >> Team Announcement
On sharing advice to the new players:
Just to enjoy this journey. It’s been a great experience being a part of Team USA. This is my third one, and I still get excited about being a part of it. At the end of the day, I can say that I am a three-time Olympian. Not a lot of people can say that.
On the progression of the USA program from 2004 to present:
In ’04 it was just kind of thrown together. Now you can see the progress that USA Basketball has made over the years and how much thought and focus that they have put in building a program like this. It’s only going to get better.
On your leadership and experience as a three-time Olympian:
For me, I’ve been there and had the bad experiences and the great experiences. I cherish both of them. In ’04 standing up there and getting the bronze medal around my neck wasn’t a great feeling, but we came back and redeemed ourselves in ’08. But the way we did it was special.
On defending the 2008 gold medal:
It makes it harder. Trying to defend any title is definitely hard. The rest of the world is definitely looking forward to playing Team USA, but we accept all the challenges.
On this year’s team and selection:
It’s a tremendous honor. I am very excited about the team. Some of the players I have known since Beijing. Other guys I have known and competed against over the years. I’m extremely excited about this opportunity.
On bringing home the gold medal:
I’m confident, but the opposition is going to be a heck of a battle. It’s going to be a really good fight. I’m sincerely looking forward to that challenge and representing our country the right way. This is our small way to fight for our country. This is what we do. Play basketball. This is our way to represent our country the best way we know how.
On his experience with Russell Westbrook in 2010 World Championships:
Playing for Coach K and his staff in 2010 gave us a lot of confidence to be ourselves. This time around we know what it takes and what we have to do. We are first-time Olympians, but we have been in this system and program before.
On hearing that he made the team:
Obviously, I was very excited. I’m ready to get going and thankful for the opportunity from Mr. Colangelo and Coach K and the rest of the staff.
On the rapid progression of his young but successful career:
I’m thankful for the opportunities that have been placed in front of me. I know I have a lot of work to do to become the player that I want to be. I’m thankful to have this experience and be able to play with these guys while I work on my game.
On wearing the USA jersey:
It means a lot. It really does. There is a difference when you put this on and knowing you are going to represent your country in the Olympics. The Olympics is something I’ve watched since I was a kid, not only basketball but for all sports. It’s really cool, and I feel blessed to be able to do that.
Thoughts on making the team?
I’m just happy and blessed to be in this situation and I’ll definitely take advantage of it.
Did you have any hesitation when you were asked to consider playing for his team?
Did you have any plans for anything else this summer?
Whatever the plans were I was going to cancel them. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity but there is a lot of guys that play in the NBA, but there isn’t a lot of guys that have a chance to win a gold medal so this is definitely a dream come true.
You are a very good defender:
That is another reason why they chose me. Not offensively but defensively. I can guard the one’s, two’s and three’s and maybe even some fours. Whatever coach puts me in position I have to be ready and be in position and make plays.
Could you describe your feeling when you were told you made the team?
We had a meeting, Coach K and Jerry Colangelo, and two other players Blake and Iguodala. First he said we made it and then we talked about how each individual can contribute to the team. We have a lot of great character guys and we’re looking forward to one thing and that’s winning the gold.
Were you hopeful, or expecting to make the team?
I think all of the guys who were in a position of not having a commitment yet but were right on the cusp, I think we all felt good. It was a tough decision. All of the guys played really well these last few days. You can make the argument for any of the guys being on the roster, and I’m just grateful it was me.
What does if feel like to make your first Olympic Team?
It’s a great experience, so I’ve got to make the most of it. I’m definitely not satisfied with just hearing my name called. I’m going to help the team in any capacity, whether it’s helping a guy prepare or whether it’s being on the court in a situation where I need to make a big impact. I’ve got to work hard and be ready to do that.
On the team:
Well, I am very excited first of all to be here to represent our country. The team has been put together, and it’s going to be great, but we have work to do. We are here to work and not shortcut anything.
On the possibility of winning a gold medal the same year as winning an NBA championship:
It’s very possible. I’m looking forward to it. That’s what I expect, and that’s what I want. I’m a competitor, and I always want to win. We just got to go out and do it.
On spending the week together as a team:
This week does give us an opportunity to bond and come together as a team. We all know each other. It’s going to be great.
On making the team:
Obviously, very excited, very enthusiastic for the prospects that this team has heading forward. It’s great to have the team set. Now, we can really focus on just getting better every day. I’m very excited for the next six weeks.
Were you hopeful, or expecting to make the team?
I’m the type of person that sets goals for myself, and I had been a part of USA Basketball for a long time, so I wouldn’t say I expected myself to make it, but I definitely saw myself making it. I worked hard and did whatever I could the past few years. I represented myself in a good way and represented my country in a good way, so I felt I had a very good shot.
Do you have any idea what your role on this team will be?
Not exactly. I think from here on out, now that we have the team set, we just kind of want to feel out each other’s games and learn to play together. This is a mix from 2008 and 2010. I think I’ll have a big role on this team, and hopefully heading forward I will be very effective.
On the team:
I think our versatility is something that is beyond believable, now with Russell Westbrook, and all of the athleticism that we have. One through12, no question, we are deeper than we were in '08.
How does it feel to make the team?
It’s great. It’s an honor. It’s a great experience for myself, and I know it is for the other guys as well.
What was your mind-set the past few days?
Just come in and try and find a place where I can fit in and help us win. I’m just happy to be a part of the team.
Do you have an idea of what your role will be?
Not yet. I’m pretty sure (Coach Krzyzewski) will make that known to different guys, and I’m just going to go out there and play. That’s all I can do, play hard.