NBA Rumor: Olympics

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Pamela is mom to not one, but two, multitalented professional athletes. Her daughter, Imani McGee-Stafford, a first-round pick in the WNBA, is currently pursuing a law degree, while JaVale is also a Grammy-nominated producer. Earlier this month, he signed a one-year $5 million contract with the Phoenix Suns. “What I instilled in both of my children is to max out your capacity. Never be a child that says, ‘coulda, woulda, shoulda,'” Pamela said. “I was born to a teenage mother that had twins at 17, and she instilled that spirit of excellence and resiliency. I just hope that I passed that down to them, and they understand that they didn’t just wake up and become Olympians. Somebody sacrificed, somebody paid a price and it’s their obligation to take it the next level.”

Juan Hernangomez at odds with Timberwolves

Juancho Hernangomez and the Spanish Basketball Federation are at odds with the Minnesota Timberwolves after the NBA team blocked Hernangomez from playing in the Tokyo Olympics. Spanish officials are pointing the finger at Wolves President of Basketball Operations Gersson Rosas for what they called a last-minute decision after they believe medical personnel from Spain and Minnesota gave Hernangomez approval to play. The Timberwolves insist their doctors never cleared Hernangomez to resume playing after he suffered a dislocated shoulder earlier this month.
3 months ago via FIBA

When was the first time you got in contact with the Nigerian basketball federation to wear the D’Tigers’ jersey? Miye Oni: We have been in contact and talks with them since I was like 17-years-old. I have a great relationship with the federation, and I have always expressed my goal of playing for the national team and represent Nigeria at the highest level. I am proud of being a Nigerian basketball player, and it’s a dream come true to be called to represent my country. This is one of the goals I have in my career, and I am happy to be able to do so. I am going to show the staff that I can help. I will do everything to bring Nigeria to the highest level and put it between the powerhouses of basketball.
3 months ago via FIBA

Precious Achiuwa, Gabe Vincent, Jordan Nwora, Josh Okogie and many more. The young guns are taking over the D’Tigers! Miye Oni: (Laughs). Every guy is going to be very important for the team, and we will play as one, we will defend as one, no matter what. We have a lot of talent, and it’s just the beginning of something great if you want my opinion. We have talents in every position, guys that played in international competitions before and have been doing very well so I am so excited about what’s coming next. We are building a fantastic team. We are ambitious and we want to write great pages on Nigeria’s basketball history.
3 months ago via FIBA

Miye Oni: The goal is to have a great tournament and the dream is to win a gold medal. Many teams can get to the medals spot, and we want to be part of the discussion too. We are young, but we have a lot of ambition. We are eager to make our compatriots proud and to show the world that Nigeria is a very competitive team. They did well in China at the previous FIBA Basketball World Cup, and we want to keep showing that we are a team that counts on the main stage, and that will count from now on at the highest level.

Matisse Thybulle was a central figure in the Boomers’ undefeated run against Argentina, Team USA and Nigeria through a series of exhibition matches in Las Vegas, where his scoring was a particularly welcome sight. While he was named to the NBA all-defensive second team this season, the Philadelphia 76er averages 3.9 points per game. “For me, it’s pretty obvious what I bring to the table. That’s athleticism, defence and, as I keep growing, what I can do around the three-point line,” Thybulle told The Age and Sydney Morning Herald. “It’s just great to see how well my skill set has integrated, just being able to complement them [teammates] as best I can is ultimately my goal. It’s been so fun for me to do that and have so much success early.”

His father, who regularly travelled, ensured his son qualified for a dual passport before the family returned to the US, something Thybulle – named after the French artist Henri Matisse, whose work inspired Greg while he was backpacking through Europe – didn’t really appreciate as a youngster. “He used to make such a deal of that when we were kids. I was like: ‘Who cares?’ As a kid you take everything for granted, right?” Thybulle said. Now that I have got older, it’s a really big deal. Even before the Olympics, people thought it was so special that I have that. Now that this opportunity has come and I am able to use this and be a part of it, it just makes it that much better.”

Patrick Mills says the Games are unique given the strict protocols around COVID-19, but coming into the village is “one of those things that’s hard to describe. Coming into the village, the first thing that we all talked about is that, for the majority of us, we all live away from home, away from Australia. [The village] is our connection to our home so that’s a really good feeling to hear accents again, be around Australian things again, whether its snacks or those little things you forget about — commercials, Farmer Wants a Wife, stuff like that.”

Juan Hernangomez to play in the Olympics despite shoulder injury

Spain power forward Juancho Hernangómez, who was ruled out of the Tokyo Games earlier this month because of a left shoulder injury, has made the team’s Olympic roster after all. The Spanish federation had said Hernangómez, who plays in the NBA for the Minnesota Timberwolves, would need significant time to recover from a dislocated left shoulder. He got hurt in an exhibition game against France on July 8.

“I was in Nigeria in 2011 and I remember my uncle telling me: ‘If you get the chance to play with Nigeria, you have to do it’,” said Minnesota Timberwolves shooting guard Josh Okogie, who emigrated to the United States with his family from Africa’s most-populous nation when he was three-years old. “That resonated with me,” added the versatile player, now 22, who passed on his second two years of college ball at Georgia Tech to join the NBA. “The country of Nigeria carries so much pride when one of their teams goes onto the world stage.”

“I want everybody to see how hard we play on defense and – something we can always control, pressuring and switching,” Okogie said about one of his team’s main strengths just days after a big loss to Australia (108-69) may have taken some wind out of Nigerian sails. “Offensively, we like to get into the paint, kick it out, and knock down threes. We can make the extra pass and we’re not afraid to shoot the ball when we’re open. “In the Olympics, every game counts and you have to almost win all of your games to get the gold,” concluded a motivated Okogie who, along with his Nigerian teammates, stands ready on the cusp of history. “And our goal…is that gold.”

Patty Mills: “I get thrilled and excited about the opportunity to be able to tell people who I am and where I’m from. At the end of the day I imagine little girls and little boys, whether they are at home or at school … I can picture them and what they might feel or how they’ll react when they see someone like me being a representative of them. That’s what it’s all about, right? Having the next generation come up and be true to themselves, proud of who they are, proud of their identity, and to wear that on their chests … that can help them achieve their dreams.”

Bradley Beal on Olympics: We don't want it to get into a politic protest

The Olympics present a stage for which the world is watching and there is a long history of athletes using the event to protest or speak out on political matters. But as Bradley Beal explained to NBC Sports Washington’s Chris Miller, the plan is for Team USA to focus on winning a gold medal. They have agreed as a team to continue working for societal change in other ways and keep this particular trip about basketball. “We’ve talked about that actually as a team. In all honesty, for the first time we can lay out our arms and focus on our competition and that’s what we’re going to do. We don’t want it to get into a political protest,” Beal told NBC Sports Washington.

Bradley Beal: “Our first meeting wasn’t about basketball, it was about life. It wasn’t about hoops at all. It was about him respecting us and what we did as players, what we continue to do and what we continue to embody and the fact we’re still trying to come out and win a gold medal regardless of what’s happened and what’s been going on. That spoke volumes. That spoke volumes. Pop, he’s a legend and he will always be a legend. Yeah, so ask him. He’ll be the one to ask about what’s going on in the world.”

Kobe Bryant wore No. 24 and No. 8 with the Los Angeles Lakers, but he donned No. 10 for USA Basketball when he helped the Americans capture gold medals at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics. Jayson Tatum has worn that number as part of U.S. teams several times since — and will wear it at the Tokyo Olympics, where the Americans will aim to capture a fourth consecutive gold medal. “With this being the first Olympics since we lost him, it holds that much more value,” Tatum said. “It’s not something I take lightly.”

Tatum knew Bryant well. They worked out together and Bryant offered him advice many times. “I remember one talk, it might have been after a game, and he was saying that a lot of people won’t understand what you do,” Tatum said. “He said, ‘What I mean by that is, the ones that really want to be great and really want to be special really take that whatever-it-takes mentality.’ He told me it takes sacrifice, because the ultimate question is about how much are you willing to give up to be great.”

When he decided not to play in the 2016 Olympics, the number ended up with Kyrie Irving — another player who idolizes Bryant, just as Tatum does. And now, as was the case when the U.S. went to the Basketball World Cup two years ago, the jersey is Tatum’s. “For JT to have this moment, I’m happy for him, genuinely,” U.S. center Bam Adebayo said. “I’ve known JT since I was 12. He deserves everything he’s getting and he’s going to keep deserving more because he’s such a great player. I’m happy for him. That’s his idol, and he gets to represent that number. I know he’s going to have that ‘Mamba Mentality’ when he puts that 10 on.”
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October 27, 2021 | 3:37 pm EDT Update