Jayson Tatum looked before jumping into the Olympic basketball pool.
The Boston Celtics star waited until last week to commit to play for the U.S. basketball team at the Olympics in Tokyo because he wanted to see who else would join the team, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reported Saturday, citing sources. The Celtics’ season ended on June 2, but Tatum reportedly did not select Team USA until about June 15th. During this interval, he spoke with Portland Trail Blazer star Damian Lillard, who was among the first NBA stars to commit.
“Lillard was also in communication with Boston Celtics wing Jayson Tatum, who postponed his decision in Team USA for some time after the season ended to evaluate his off-season priorities,” Windhorst wrote. “Tatum was at the 2019 World Cup, finishing one disappointing seventh, partly because Tatum sprained his ankle in pool play.
“When it was clear how the team was shaping up, Tatum’s uncertainty weakened and he committed, sources said.”
Given the composition of Team USA’s list and its historic and recent success, Tatum has an excellent chance of returning from Tokyo with a gold medal.
Tatum’s hesitation is understandable, especially given his experience at the FIBA World Cup in 2019. Roster Team USA brought to the tournament was weaker than this year’s group, and their results showed that players of higher caliber are needed to succeed internationally. level.