Booker watches the rapid passage from the NBA Finals to the Olympics
LOS ANGELES – Phoenix Suns star Devin Booker will not be done with basketball after the NBA Finals, with plans to join the U.S. Olympic team after the championship showdown against Milwaukee.
The 24-year-old guard, two-time NBA All-Star, will be joined by Bucks rivals Jrue Holiday and Khris Middleton on the US 12-man roster set to play his first game in Tokyo on July 25.
If the NBA Finals hit the seven-game max, they would end on July 22, barely enough time to celebrate, catch a plane, and reach Japan to meet coach Gregg Popovich and his American teammates before the start of the Olympic Games.
“I’ll be there,” Booker said. “But that’s obviously not my main focus at the moment.
“I saw all the guys show up in Vegas and the only other place I would rather be is the final, but I would love to be there with the guys and I’ll be there soon.”
Booker cherishes the opportunity to help the United States win a fourth straight gold medal.
“Very important. My life goal,” he said. “It’s the most prestigious event basketball can find. So being a part of representing your country takes you into a whole different stratosphere.
“I just think of the guys who came before us and who represented our country and I don’t think there is anything better than winning a gold medal.”
But Booker wouldn’t complain about the possibility of a double NBA-Olympic title despite the short delay.
Middleton made his own global investment in basketball three months ago, joining the Brisbane Bullets owned group of Australia’s National Basketball League.
“It’s something that turned me on,” Middleton said. “Being part of an ownership group is something I wanted to do for sure.
“As a player it might be difficult, but I realize that the responsibilities I had weren’t really going to affect my basketball career right now, but it’s something that I think a lot of players are starting to take on. tend to find ways to invest their money and that’s something I’m interested in. “
Middleton traveled to Australia to verify his investment and see the support the Australians have for basketball.
“The sport is definitely growing there in Australia,” he said. “I’ve been there a few times and just seeing their fan base, how they are growing and how passionate they are about the sport, I thought it was just an overall win for myself. “
The closest global ties to the NBA Finals are seven international players on the rosters.
The Bucks include Greek forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, two-time NBA MVP, his brother Thanasis, Guinean Mamadi Diakite and Frenchman Axel Toupane.
The Suns’ roster includes Bahamian center Deandre Ayton, Egyptian Abdel Nader and Croatian Dario Saric, who suffered a tear in his right knee ligament in the opener that will put him on the sidelines for the remainder of the series. .
Giannis great for Africa
Giannis Antetokounmpo had 20 points and 17 rebounds in Game 1, making his comeback after a hypertensive left knee after missing two games.
He is also one of seven players in the Nigerian Legacy final, his parents having moved from Lagos to Athens three years before his birth.
“Throughout the year I have had the opportunity to notice that there are a lot of African players,” said Antetokounmpo. “There were a lot of Nigerian players who also played with teams. It speaks for itself how much talent can come from Africa.”
Antetokounmpo saw it for himself at a Basketball Without Borders event in Africa.
“I had the opportunity to go six years ago with my family and see for myself,” he said. “I got to train these young kids – they were my age, but they were kids and they were so talented.
“So I hope that in the future we can see more African children join the NBA.”