Much has happened in the world of basketball since the Rio Games. But despite COVID-19 causing the NBA to pause its 2019-20 season and forcing the postponement of the Tokyo Games, this summer's basketball tournament at the Olympics appears on track to be yet another thrilling entry into the history books.
While Olympic veterans like LeBron James and Kyrie Irving will not be in Tokyo, Kevin Durant will be as he chases his third consecutive Olympic gold medal. The 11-time NBA All-Star is coming off his first season with the Brooklyn Nets in which he finished with a career-high .537 field goal percentage and averaged 26.9 points per game.
Carmelo Anthony, the most decorated United States basketball player in Olympic history, likely will not return for the Tokyo Games. The 36-year-old made his debut at the Olympics in 2004, helping the U.S. win a bronze medal. From there, though, it's been nothing but gold for Carmelo. In every Olympics since, Carmelo played a key role in the U.S. winning three straight men's basketball gold medals. He also ranks No. 1 in U.S. Olympic men's basketball history with 336 points and 125 rebounds and even holds Team USA's single-game scoring record of 31 points. Not too shabby.
Tamika Catchings will also not return to the Olympics this time around. And, believe it or not, her track record is even more impressive than Carmelo's. Catchings, who retired from basketball after spending her entire 15-year WNBA career with the Indiana Fever, guided the United States to four straight gold medals from Athens in 2004 to Rio in 2016. The Women's Basketball Hall of Famer leaves the Olympics as one of the most prolific players ever to represent the United States at the Games.
New Faces to Watch
One new name to watch is Bradley Beal. Beal, who will turn 28 by the start of the Tokyo Games, turned down the opportunity to play in the Rio Games in 2016. However, as he prepares to make his Olympic debut, he will immediately become one of the top players on Team USA. Beal was one of the NBA's leaders in average points per game this past season.