Lakers NBA Championship Run Aided by USA Basketball Experience
Powered by Olympic gold medalists LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Dwight Howard on the court, and two-time Olympic gold medalist and now L.A. assistant coach Jason Kidd, the Los Angeles Lakers claimed on Sunday night the franchise’s 17th NBA Championship.
The Lakers’ roster featured 12 players and two assistant coaches possessing USA Basketball playing experience.
James, who won his fourth NBA title, is one of just four NBA players to win an NBA championship with three franchises. In being tabbed MVP of the Finals, James is the first player in NBA history to win the award with three different franchises. He is a three-time Olympic medalist who has helped lead the U.S. to gold in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, and he has played on 11 USA Basketball teams, compiled a 62-6 win-loss record and accumulated 979 points (14.4 ppg.), 281 (4.1 rpg.) rebounds, 238 assists (3.5 apg.) and 111 steals (1.6 spg.).
Davis and Howard likewise boast of considerable USA Basketball experiences. Davis has aided the USA to gold medal finishes at the 2014 FIBA World Cup and 2012 Olympics and a win in the 2011 Nike Hoop Summit. Howard has helped USA teams claim gold at the 2008 Olympics and 2007 FIBA Americas Championship and a bronze medal at the 2006 FIBA World Cup.
Other Lakers possessing USA Basketball experience include: Avery Bradley, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Alex Caruso, Quinn Cook, Kyle Kuzma, JaVale McGee, Rajon Rondo, JR Smith and Dion Waiters. Additionally L.A. assistant coaches Jason Kidd, a two-time Olympic gold medalist in his own right, and Miles Simon boast of USA Basketball playing experience.
Here’s a brief recap of their USA Basketball careers.
Avery Bradley: As a member of the 2009 USA Junior National Select Team that was defeated by the World Select Team 97-89 win in the 12th annual Nike Hoop Summit, he made 10-of-14 shots from the field and recorded 21 points.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope: Named to the 2016 USA Basketball Select Team that was comprised of up-and-coming NBA players, he trained with the 2016 USA Basketball Men’s National Team during its pre-Olympics training camp in Las Vegas.
Alex Caruso: Selected for the USA World Cup Qualifying Team for the June 2018 window, Caruso started in both games during the qualifying window and helped the American squad to a 1-1 record. Averaging 21.0 minutes in the two games, he posted 7.0 ppg. and 2.5 rpg.
Quinn Cook: Owning an all-time record of 14-0 playing on USA Basketball teams, Cook scored 11 points to help lead the USA to a win in the 2011 Nike Hoop Summit and won gold medals at the 2010 FIBA U17 World Cup (8-0) and 2009 FIBA Americas U16 Championship (5-0).
Anthony Davis: While playing for USA Basketball, AD has compiled a sparkling 27-0 record. Currently a member of the 2018-21 USA Basketball Men’s National Team, he helped lead the USA to gold at the 2014 FIBA World Cup (9-0) and was the youngest member of the gold-medalist 2012 Olympic squad that finished 8-0 in London. Additionally, he recorded 16 points, 10 rebounds and two blocked shots to help lead the U.S. to a 92-80 win in the 2011 Nike Hoop Summit.
Dwight Howard: Currently a member of the 2018-21 USA Basketball Men’s National Team, he averaged 10.9 ppg., 5.8 rpg., while shooting 74.5% from the field as a member of the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team that finished 8-0 and won the gold medal. He was also part of the 2007 USA FIBA Americas Championship Team that finished 10-0, won gold and qualified the United States men for the 2008 Olympics, and he helped the USA to an 8-1 record and bronze medal at the 2006 FIBA World Championship in Japan. All told, he has been part of USA teams that combine for a 36-1 record.
LeBron James: Currently a member of the 2018-21 USA Basketball Men’s National Team, he has played on 11 USA Basketball teams that have compiled a remarkable 62-6 record. In the 68 games in which he has appeared for the red, white and blue, he has tallied 979 points (14.4 ppg.), 281 (4.1 rpg.) rebounds, 238 assists (3.5 apg.) and 111 steals (1.6 spg.). James has won gold medals at the 2012 Olympic Games, 2008 Olympic Games, 2007 FIBA Americas Championship and 2001 USA Basketball Youth Development Festival, and bronze medals at the 2006 FIBA World Cup and 2004 Olympic Games.
Kyle Kuzma: A member of the 2018-21 USA Basketball Men’s National Team, he was a finalist for the 2019 USA World Cup Team but was forced to withdraw from consideration because of an ankle injury. Seeing action in two USA National Team games during its 2019 pre-World Cup Tour, he averaged 9.5 ppg. and 3.5 rpg.
JaVale McGee: A member of the 2018-21 USA Basketball Men’s National Team, he was also a member of the USA Basketball 2010-12 Men's National Team. He played in the 2009 USA Basketball Showcase for the USA White Team and recorded four points, three rebounds and one blocked shot in 15 minutes.
Rajon Rondo: A member of the 2010-12 USA Basketball Men’s National Team roster, he was a finalist for the 2010 USA World Cup Team and played in two national team exhibition games and averaged 4.0 ppg., 2.0 rpg. and 3.5 apg. He averaged 11.0 ppg., 4.5 apg. and 3.4 spg. as a member of the 2005 USA U21 World Championship Team that finished 7-1 and in fifth place.
JR Smith: Selected with 13 other top young NBA players to comprise the 2008 USA Men's Select Team that was utilized to help prepare the 2008 USA Men's National Team for the Beijing Olympic Games. He recorded 17 points in the USA’s 99-79 victory over a World Select Team in the 2004 Nike Hoop Summit and was a member of the East team in the 2003 USA Basketball Youth Development Festival.
Dion Waiters: Chosen for the 12-member USA Select Team that trained with the 2014 USA Basketball Men’s National Team during its pre-World Cup training camp in Las Vegas, Nevada. Also participated in 2013 USA Basketball Men’s National Team minicamp.
Jason Kidd: Played for six USA Basketball teams and compiled a perfect 46-0 record in the five FIBA or FIBA Americas competitions he was part of, including gold at the 2000 and 2008 Olympics and the 1999, 2003 and 2007 FIBA Americas Championships. As a collegian he was named to the 1993 Team USA squad that played five games against European National Teams.
Miles Simon: Selected a member of the 1995 U.S. Olympic Festival West Team. As an assistant coach, he helped guide the USA to gold medals at the 2015 FIBA Americas U16 Championship and the 2016 FIBA U17 World Cup.