We interrupt your excitement at the upcoming Eastern Conference Finals matchup with this additional excitement. Today we got some big news regarding the other high-profile basketball event of the year: Woj is reporting that both Khris Middleton AND Jrue Holiday have made the US Olympic squad, which heads to Tokyo in late July.
Milwaukee Bucks forward Khris Middleton has committed to joining Team USA's 12-man roster for the Summer Olympics, @excelbasketball agent Mike Lindeman tells ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 22, 2021
Holiday joins his Bucks teammate Khris Middleton as first-time Olympians under coach Gregg Popovich. https://t.co/hFLd9oQ1mn— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 22, 2021
This will be the first time in franchise history that two current Bucks will play for the US at an Olympiad. They join former Bucks stars and Olympic gold medalists Ray Allen (2000 Sydney team) and Michael Redd (2008 Beijing team) as players representing Milwaukee on an American Olympic roster.
They will become the sixth and seventh Bucks to appear in an Olympic tournament, joining the aforementioned Americans plus Daniel Santiago (Puerto Rico in 2004), Andrew Bogut (Australia in 2008), and Carlos Delfino (Argentina in 2012). If you’re wondering, Greece has yet to qualify for the Tokyo Games, but will play for a berth (sans Giannis, of course) beginning June 29th in Australia. There’s no word yet if Giannis will appear for Greece should they qualify; he may a little too busy trying to win a chip to consider that yet.
As they are most years, the Americans are still favorites to take home the gold, despite notable opt-outs like LeBron James, Steph Curry, Anthony Davis, Jimmy Butler, and Chris Paul. Middleton and Holiday join a US team that features 2021 All-Stars Kevin Durant, James Harden, Damian Lillard, Jayson Tatum, Bradley Beal, and Devin Booker, plus former All-Stars Bam Adebayo, Draymond Green, and Kevin Love.
Barring any unforeseen delays, the torch will be lit in Tokyo for the postponed 2020 Olympics on July 23rd and the preliminary, group-stage round for 5-on-5 basketball will begin on July 25th. If necessary, Game 7 of the NBA Finals could be scheduled as late as July 22nd, so it’s conceivable that any or all of Middleton, Holiday, and Booker could immediately hop a plane to Japan after the Finals end. But that date is not set in stone: the NBA will announce the Finals schedule after the Conference Finals conclude, so if each series does not go the full 7 games, any Olympians will have several more days in between.
Congratulations to Holiday and Middleton! Hopefully, they will head to Tokyo with championship rings on their fingers and head back home with gold medals around their necks. Can you think of a better year for a basketball player?