The 2020 Olympics was always going to have a Wizards and Mystics feel, but we also expected to be seeing the Olympians coming from other countries.
To this point, we were only expecting Wizards forward Rui Hachimura to represent the host country for the men’s tournament, Washington Mystics guard Leilani Mitchell to represent Australia and free agent (for now) forward Emma Meesseman to represent Belgium for the women’s tournament. While it will be fun to see Hachimura and Meeeseman play in the Olympics, Japan is one of the weakest teams in the men’s tournament. Australia is a perennial medal contender in women’s basketball. And Belgium, while talented in women’s basketball, is still a relatively unproven team on the world stage.
But now, another Washington basketball player may join the ranks, this time for the USA Basketball men’s national team.
According to Marc Stein of The New York Times, USA Basketball is trying to get Bradley Beal to commit to the team. They have received commitments so far from Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard, Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green and Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum.
As they assemble the 12-man squad for Tokyo, USAB officials continue to pursue players still in the playoffs as well as those, like Beal, from eliminated teams.@TheAthletic reported today that commitments are in from Portland's Damian Lillard and Golden State's Draymond Green.— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) June 15, 2021
And the news appears to be even better for USA Basketball. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, there is optimism that Beal will join the team after all.
Sources: Among the invitations USA Basketball has made for inclusion on the 12-man Olympic roster, there’s optimism that Coach Gregg Popovich will get commitments from Bradley Beal and Jayson Tatum.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 16, 2021
If Beal joins Team USA, he will be the first current Washington Wizards player to ever play on the American Olympic team since NBA players were allowed in the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, Spain. He would also be only the second American to play in a World tournament since Antawn Jamison in the 2006 FIBA World Championship.
My hope is that Beal plays for Team USA and he will play on a team that is the most talented one that he would have ever been on as a professional. He was offered a chance in 2016 and turned it down due to contract negotiations. This time, Beal will have a better chance to showcase his skills on the world stage and he will get more respect in the NBA afterward, especially if the USA wins a Gold Medal!