2014 USA 3x3 National Championship
Colorado Springs, Colo.
May 9-11
2014 USA 3x3 National Championship
Colorado Springs, Colo.
May 9-11
'Our only goal in Beijing is to win the gold medal. That should be everybody's goal, even if you're not even a part of this team. Everybody in America should have the same goal for any Olympian going over there wearing the red, white and blue, not just th

USA Men's Senior National Team Quote(s) of the Day

June 28, 2008 � Las Vegas, Nevada

The 2008 USA Basketball Men's Senior National Team spent Saturday afternoon practicing in Las Vegas. USA Basketball.com was there to gather some insight into what the players think about this year's team, the competition in Beijing, differences between the NBA and international game ... and much more!

Coach KMike Krzyzewski, USA head coach, Duke University
On practice and the team:
We maybe need to run a little bit more. None of them are out of shape, but once you get at that speed of running, they get a little bit winded. (Today's practice) was to familiarize them with the types of shots they are going to get. We put in a little bit of offense. Most of them have run the offense. And then we will send some stuff out to them showing them some spot shooting. In the NBA, these guys aren't accustomed to spot shooting. They have to make their points. Here in the international game, they have to be ready to catch and shoot. Little reminders like that.

We didn't want to have any contact in this one practice. We just wanted to run shots at the speed we are going to play and to let them interact. That's a big thing. They need to come together as a team, and this weekend, traveling to New York tomorrow, will help that.

On Olympic opponents:
If they just use what they see in the NBA, then they won't be trained enough because the (international) players who play in the NBA, they almost take on another level when they play for their countries. So you can assume that you know somebody with the Lakers or the Spurs or whatever, but when they play with their national teams they are even better. The one thing our guys have is ultimate respect. I've really learned and they have learned to appreciate the beauty of the international game and the talent. This team has been picked to really play the international game because we respect it so much.

   
 

'Our only goal in Beijing is to win the gold medal. That should be everybody's goal, even if you're not even a part of this team. Everybody in America should have the same goal for any Olympian going over there wearing the red, white and blue, not just the basketball team.'
~ LeBron James

 
   

One a zone offense and a zone defense:
Nothing is that difficult to teach these players because they are all really good. It's a matter of how much time you have to put something in so they are instinctive about it. Teaching them something is fairly easy. Becoming instinctive takes time. It's just a matter of how much time we devote when we come back to the attack of the zone, which we will do a lot of, and to implementing the zone, which we will do a little of. We'll spend more time learning to attack than implementing (a zone defense).

On the 2008 team compared to the Dream Team:
You don't compare them. First of all it was 16 years ago. I think it's foolish to compare them. There is only one Dream Team. That was 1992. The mistake that American people make is calling then every team after a Dream Team. This isn't Rocky one, two, three and four. It's Dream Team one forever, and the next teams have to get their own identity. This team will have to work at developing its identity.

Coach KCarmelo Anthony, Denver Nuggets
On winning the gold medal:
I have two bronze medals and one gold from the FIBA Americas tournament. I'm looking forward to that gold medal.

On the 2006 USA World Championship Team:
I thought we had a pretty good team that year and we had a chance to win. The couple mistakes we made, we looked back and learned from it. I'm pretty sure we won't make them anymore.

On international basketball:
It's a lot different. I just like to play basketball, have fun. I work on my game and as a result of working on my game, it shows up on the court.

Coach KCarlos Boozer, Utah Jazz
This team is so full of talent, is there still a lot to learn?
Absolutely, you can always learn and coach K is a very good teacher. For us, we have to stay aggressive, attack offensively and defensively to win the gold medal. That's our mindset.

On the way home from Athens I understand you all were talking about wanting to redeem yourselves.
We (Carmelo Anthony, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade) did. I was telling these guys earlier that we have the chance to erase the memory of Athens. We're very comfortable, we're very prepared, we respect our opponents, we're enthusiastic, we're humble and we're looking forward to the challenge.

Do you see a different attitude this time around?
It's great. Everybody's on the same page. We're all reading the same book at the same time and we're all on the same page after one goal. That's something we were missing a little bit in Athens. That's something that we have no problem with here.

On the team's training schedule:
It shows how committed we are and how much pride we have in our country we are all here, taking time out of our summer to be here and be committed to each other and go win a gold medal in Olympics.

On playing for Coach K again:
I'm excited. We have a great relationship. I know his terminology, and he knows mine, and it's the same thing with the rest of the guys. We have all been together for a couple years now, and we are enjoying it.

Coach KChris Bosh, Toronto Raptors
On the 2006 FIBA World Championship:
In the World Championship, we took everything serious. Our preparation wasn't the best. We all learned from it. Now we don't underestimate anybody. We know that have to come out and play extremely hard every game, we have to play together every game and we have to really get after it. I think if we do that we will be the best team in the world.

What do you think about this team?
It's like the coaches have always told us, we're not worried about egos. We just bring the things that we are good at. Everything that we are good at, we try to bring it to this court and play together. We have our eyes on one goal, and if we continue to work hard and work together, we'll accomplish that.

What's your focus on here?
Just being here. When you look at the guys out here, I think that this is a great team that has been assembled. We are competing at the Olympics, which is the highest level there is. It's very easy to stay focused. I've been dreaming about this since I was a little kid.

Coach KKobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers
What do you think of this summer's competition?
When you start dealing with the teams that have been together awhile, that have played together internationally. They're not afraid or intimidated. They think they can beat us, they think they should beat us and that's when the game gets real fun.

What kind of expectation do you have for Beijing this summer?
We just want to play well. We want to play the right way. Our goal obviously is to win the gold medal as it is for all the other teams. We're going to give it our best effort.

Do you feel a little more pressure since the USA hasn't won a gold since 2000?
Yes, I think there's naturally more pressure. But for us it's actually a relaxing situation because we'd rather have the responsibility of bringing this home as opposed to sitting there biting our nails just hoping that we win the gold medal. This is a great opportunity for us, we're very excited about it.

The NBA game can be more of an individual game, there's a lot more one-on-one, whereas the international game has more of a team concept. How do you transition to that?
We just move the ball. We move the ball extremely well, get out in the open floor, we execute well. That's what it takes. Winning an NBA championship and winning an international gold medal isn't that different. The rules still apply. You have to play as a team, you have to be great defensively and you have to rebound.

Who do you see as some of the USA's top opponents?
Everybody's a top opponent. But you have to go with the defending champion Argentina because they're the champs. They'll be Olympic champions until somebody knocks them off.

What would it mean for you to win an Olympic gold medal?
It would be the most special thing to happen in my career. Winning an NBA championship is incredible. But you're playing for a particular market. With a gold medal you're playing for your country. I don't think there's any greater honor as a professional athlete that you can have.

What was practice like today?
It was a good first day today, get up and down the floor, get loose and pick up some of the rhythm where we left off last summer. It was a first good step.

What is on your mind, what is the goal in China?
We just want to get better right now, get better every day. The goal? A gold medal, just like everybody else. Everybody else has that same goal, the same focus, and we are certainly no different.

Is this a special time for you? You have accomplished so much, but the Olympics are new.
I am very thankful for the opportunity to be on this team. It is a tremendous honor, to win an NBA championship is one thing, but to play for your country is something completely different. I am very, very fortunate to be here and I am looking forward to it,

Is defense going to be the key?
No question. Defense and rebounding wins championships, whether it's the Olympics or the NBA. There's a lot of emphasis on that.

How did Wade look out there?
He looked good. I had a chance to talk with him yesterday when we were working out and he said this is the healthiest he has been in a couple of years.

On the makeup of the team:
We have incredible athletes on this team, who are very capable defensive players. We have a lot of athleticism on the wing and we can use that to our advantage, pressuring teams and bait them into situations where they turn over the ball. We want to use that speed and athleticism to our advantage.

What is it like to play for Coach K?
It's everything that I thought it would be, and more. When I was in high school, he was my number one choice, but I had to wait about 11 years or so to play for him. He is a great guy and an incredible coach. I've learned a lot from him already. He has a passion for the game, a respect for his players and above all else, he wants to see his players play well. And he wants to win. He communicates that beautifully to his players. He's very clear on what he wants.

Coach KDwight Howard, Orlando Magic
On the 2008 USA team:
All of us have been together, some of us from last summer. We have a couple of new pieces, but we feel like brothers. We love being around each other, laughing and joking and having fun. It's a good team to be with.

What would it mean to win a gold medal in Beijing?
Winning this gold medal is not just about me. It's about winning it for all the fans. We want to have that same love that the Dream Team had and bring basketball back to where it was.

What is your role on this team?
I'm going to try to do whatever I can to help my team win. I'm not really focused on scoring points, but blocking shots and trying to rebound.

On international rules:
I'm about the same as I was last summer with the rules. It will take a couple of games to get back into, but once we get going we will all be ready.

Coach KLeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers
Can you talk about what happened in 2004?
What happened in 2004 wasn't the best for myself, Dwyane and Carmelo. It was a bad situation, we didn't play as much as we thought we should have and it left a bad taste in our mouths. We wanted the opportunity to get better and make an impact on the USA team and now we're going to be able to do that.

What kind of expectations do you have for the Olympics?
Our number one goal going to Beijing is to win a gold medal. We are going to approach every game like it's our last. We're looking forward to the opportunity to go out there and play. Our only goal in Beijing is to win the gold medal. That should be everybody's goal, even if you're not even a part of this team. Everybody in America should have the same goal for any Olympian going over there wearing the red, white and blue, not just the basketball team.

Do you feel that there's more pressure on you since the USA hasn't won gold since 2000?
No. We don't believe in pressure. Right now we're controlling our own destiny. If we go out and play the game like we know how to play we could be a very good team.

Who do you think your top opponents will be?
You always look at Spain as very good, Argentina is going to be a very good team. There's going to be some very good teams out there and we're looking forward to playing all of them.

Talk about what kind of player Carmelo Anthony is and what he brings to the team.
Carmelo is a very experienced FIBA basketball player. He's played in a lot of games like I have, he knows how to approach USA Basketball. He's very talented. His size, quickness and power, his athleticism is difficult for some of those guys to guard him, being at the power forward where he plays on this team. He's definitely challenging.

You don't have much down time this summer. Describe how you're going to pace yourself as far as working through this and coming back in the fall.
I'm not going to pace myself at all. I'm going to play like it's the last game of my life. I don't go on teams and try to pace myself and worry about how my body's going to feel two months, three months from now. It's not about that. I'd be cheating my teammates if I said that.

What would it mean for you to win a gold medal, especially after all the time and energy you've put into playing for USA Basketball since 2004?
It would be the ultimate. I've definitely put in a lot of time, I've sacrificed a lot of time as an individual. But the experience that I've had has been unbelievable. This is something I can tell my kids' kids once I get older. This is a great experience and to be able to tell them about a gold medal that I won in 2008 would be the icing on the cake.

The NBA game can be more of an individual game, there's a lot more one-on-one, whereas the international game has more of a team concept. How do you transition to that?
That's not true. You look at NBA teams that have won championships and they've been team oriented. You look at Boston and San Antonio and the Bulls teams that have won, the Rockets teams that won, these are all team-oriented teams. An individual can take over a game but at the end of the day you can only be successful if you have a great team.

Coach KJason Kidd, Dallas Mavericks
Why do you keep playing for USA Basketball? A lot of players your age don't.
I love the game. I enjoy playing. I love the international game. And then I get a chance to play with a lot of the best players in the world.

What can you bring to the team with your spotless record in international play?
It's not so much the record, it's just the understanding that each time we take the floor everyone is watching and we want to show the world that we can play the game the right way, and play as a team. I think that's what some of the international teams have started to understand-to play as a team and win as a team. So for us, if we can get to that level-and we showed that last summer-then we can be as good as anybody in the world.

As you watched the Olympic Games in 2004, what was missing?
I think one of the biggest things we learned is that it isn't going to be easy. The closer you get to the medal rounds, the tougher it is going to get. You are going to see more elite players, guys you see in the NBA. Those guys have pride and want to represent their countries well, too.

You are undefeated in international competition. Who is the next Jason Kidd as point guard for the USA?
Well, you have two of them in Chris Paul and Deron Williams. They are as good as I was at that age. It is great to have them on the team to have them keep running the show and to get some valuable experience. They both want to get better and they both work at it.

Coach KChris Paul, New Orleans Hornets
Why did you make the commitment to USA Basketball?
This is a dream come true. It's a select few group of guys who get this opportunity. Say you make a limited edition card and there's only 12 of them in the world. This is like that. There are so many guys in the NBA who never get this opportunity. The NBA Finals are there every year, but the Olympics come along only every four years. You don't get many shots at it.

On winning a gold medal in the Olympics versus an NBA title:
Don't get me wrong. I would love to win the NBA Finals, but this right here is about representing your country. All of us represent different teams, different organizations, but there's no greater feeling than to represent your country, to have U-S-A across your chest.

This will be the best basketball experience of my life. I am playing with some of the best basketball players in the world, some of the best to ever play the game. I don't think I will ever play on a better basketball team than this one right here.

Is it difficult to adjust to the international game from the NBA game?
I've had the great opportunity to play for USA Basketball while I was in college and after my rookie year, so I have had the opportunity to play under international rules before.

Coach KTayshaun Prince, Detroit Pistons
On practicing with this team today:
Obviously some of us were together on previous teams, but today was a day where we could all get together and work on some of the things we need to learn. July 20, when it's time for us to come back to camp, is going to come fast.

On his motivation this summer:
As far as the motivational aspect, to be playing with this group of guys and representing our country is a dream come true for all of us. We are going to do everything to the best of our ability to bring the gold back.

Coach KMichael Redd, Milwaukee Bucks
How did it feel when you found out you were on the team and headed to Beijing?
It was an honor, definitely an honor. You can't do anything better than this, playing for the USA. This is the greatest honor you can have, being on the Olympic team, representing your country, it's a humbling honor.

No matter what five players are in the game, the next five are just as strong coming off the bench. What do you think the other teams are going to think of the depth of this team?
I don't see a letdown at all. We're all capable of doing great things. This is not just a team of role players, it's a team of great players who have to play as a team. Whether it's the first unit, second unit or third unit, we'll be prepared.

Who do you think will be the toughest opponents?
All of them. There's no overlooking anybody. We're not in a position to overlook anybody, everyone's going to be tough.

You've seen a lot of international play and seen how the USA has a target on its back, how teams step up their games when they go up against the USA. How do you combat that?
I don't think we're going to have a target on our backs this year. I don't even know if we're favored to win. I think we're going to relish playing the underdog role a little bit. Even though the world may say that we have the world's best players, I don't think we're favored in this type of game. I will relish being the underdogs.

What would it mean to win an Olympic gold medal?
It would mean everything. Everything. Obviously the NBA championship is awesome, it's the pinnacle, but this is even higher than an NBA championship. This is a whole other level. It would mean everything.

Coach KDwyane Wade, Miami Heat
Like Coach K said, we are all going to check our egos at the door and put them under one umbrella and go out there and try to get it done, because we all want to win.

Do you get a sense that this is like a mission for this team?
It is. It's redemption. 2004 was a hurt for us. Our fans want to see us win. It's going to be tough, but I think we have the guys who can go out there and do it-mentally and physically.

Some people question whether NBA players want to make the commitment?
I think they picked the right group of guys. We didn't like what happened in 2004 or 2006 (bronze medals). We appreciate things, we respect the international game a lot more.

We had a good team both those years, but we've added veteran guys like J. Kidd and Kobe. And those of us who played in the World Championships in Japan, we felt we had a good team, but one hiccup, one game against Greece and we lost the game. We know you have to finish, you have to focus all the way through the end.

Are you going to change your game for these Olympics?
I am who I am. I'm going to go out there and play team ball. Last time I was coming off the bench, I was kind of the guy who was penetrating, getting to basket or setting guys up. That's my game and that's my role here, so I am going to keep doing that. I'm not trying to do here what I have to do for the Miami Heat. You want to be a part of greatness here.

Bottom line, we're going over there for business. When you're with the guys on this team, you look to your right or your left and you know who you're going to go out on the court with, you can't do anything but smile. You're confident that everyone is going to hold up his own.

Right now, I'm just working on getting my wind back, getting my conditioning back. I haven't really played since March. It's great to back.

Coach KDeron Williams, Utah Jazz
What's it like being on the court with this team? You're getting a pass from someone like Dwyane Wade, passing off to someone like Kobe Bryant, everywhere you turn there's another very talented guy.
It feels great. There's not many mistakes to be made on this team with the caliber of players that we have. This team is special. I don't think the same thing that happened in '04 even has the chance to happen here.

No matter what five players are in the game, the next five are just as strong coming off the bench. What do you think the other teams are going to think of the depth of this team?
There's no letdown. That's what's going to make us so special. We're so versatile. There are so many lineups we can throw at you and we're relentless. That's what made us so successful last year. We didn't give anyone a chance to set up on offense, we didn't give them a chance to set up on defense. We wanted to go and get into our sets, put pressure on them all over the place, go for steals. We're so athletic and so long that we cause so much confusion and havoc out there.

Who do you think will be your toughest competition?
There's a lot of teams. Spain, Argentina, Greece, those are some of the top teams. But anybody can beat you at any given night. We can't just walk in there and think we're going to walk into the gold medal because that's not the case. People don't fear the USA like they use to.

Coach K talked yesterday about what it'll be like going up against some of the international players you play with and against in the NBA and how different they'll be with their national teams. Can you comment on that?
They're superstars. A lot of them are superstars in our league like Ginobili, Calderon, coming and starring in the NBA. But when they get over there it's a whole other level. They're superman. We have to be ready to take everybody's best shot. We know that everybody's going to be gunning for us because of who we are and we expect that.