USA Basketball kicked off its training camp in Las Vegas on Monday, and while a number of NBA players are decked out in the red, white, and blue, the hectic offseason has led to a number of players opting to sit this summer and the upcoming World Cup out. But in the eyes of one player who did join Gregg Popovich’s squad this summer, those who are left standing view this as a good thing.
Kemba Walker spoke to the media on Monday following the first day of training camp, and while some of the biggest names in basketball have opted to rest this summer for a myriad of reasons, the Boston Celtics’ new point guard explained that the guys who accepted the invitation are happy that so many players pulled out.
“I love basketball, I love to play,” Walker said, per Pro Basketball Talk. “And what better opportunity to do that than to play for your country? This is like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a lot of us. I think a lot of us are happy those guys pulled out. This is our chance, this is our chance to get on the big stage and showcase our talents. It’s a chance for us to do something new, to be a new-look team.”
Walker is right, there are a number of players on this roster who probably wouldn’t have gotten what could a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to suit up for their country. It’s not meant to be a slight against any of them, because they’re still a collection of really good professional basketball players, and Walker makes it sound like a number of them are entering camp and the World Cup embracing the chance to play for the United States. All that ultimately matters, though, is this pride in suiting up for their country translates to wins.