Boston Celtics

Tatum talks being part of Team USA, opportunity to win gold

"All that matters is that we come home with the gold medal."

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After leading the Boston Celtics to Banner 18, Jayson Tatum is ready to embark on a new challenge.

Tatum is part of a star-studded squad that will represent the United States in Paris for the 2024 Summer Olympic Games. The newly crowned NBA champion is currently in Las Vegas for Team USA basketball camp as the group prepares for Wednesday's USA Basketball Showcase game against Canada.

On Monday, Tatum expressed his excitement to play alongside fellow NBA superstars overseas.

"First and foremost, you've got high-character guys that understand what we're trying to accomplish and understand how tough it is to put 12 new guys on a team with 40 days to get to know eachother and practice and be away from their family and try to win a gold medal," Tatum said. "And that's all that matters. Not who starts, how many points you average. All that matters is that we come home with the gold medal.

"So having that mindset and having guys who understand that you have to change a little bit. Like, still be yourself. Be who you are that got you to this point. But we all have to change a little bit, our roles and whatever we have to do to get us to try to win."

Among Tatum's Team USA teammates is Philadelphia 76ers big man Joel Embiid, one of Boston's biggest rivals. He'll also be coached by the Golden State Warriors' Steve Kerr, the Miami Heat's Erik Spoelstra, and the Los Angeles Clippers' Tyronn Lue.

For Tatum, the opportunity to call some of his longtime rivals teammates is one of the most exciting parts of playing for Team USA.

"Joel's a great, great friend of mine. So many battles throughout the regular season and so many battles throughout the playoffs," Tatum said. "That's the fun part, you get to be on the same team with all these guys that you compete against, that you're battling and fighting. Even the coaches, right? I've played against Spo (Erik Spoelstra) so many times and it's good to be on the same team. Steve Kerr and all those guys, T-Lue (Tyronn Lue).

"So that's the unique and cool part about Team USA is guys that you always gotta have an edge around or fighting against, that you get to come together and try to do something special."

Joining Tatum and Embiid on Team USA's roster are Jrue Holiday (Celtics), Bam Adebayo (Miami Heat), Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors), Devin Booker (Phoenix Suns), Kevin Durant (Phoenix Suns), Anthony Davis (Los Angeles Lakers), LeBron James (Los Angeles Lakers), Anthony Edwards (Minnesota Timberwolves), Tyrese Haliburton (Indiana Pacers), and Kawhi Leonard (Los Angeles Clippers).

Tatum is looking for his second gold medal. In the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, which was postponed to 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he helped Team USA win the gold with 15.2 points, 3.3 revounds, 1.2 assists, and 1.2 blocks per game.

Team USA will begin the 2024 Summer Olympic Games with a showdown vs. Serbia on July 28.

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