Rockets' James Harden: Playing in 2020 Olympic Games 'One of My Goals'

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistSeptember 27, 2019

United States' James Harden reacts during the final World Basketball match between the United States and Serbia at the Palacio de los Deportes stadium in Madrid, Spain, Sunday, Sept. 14, 2014. (AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza)
Daniel Ochoa de Olza/Associated Press

Add James Harden to the list of stars who want to represent the United States at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.

The Rockets guard said during media day on Friday that playing in next year's Games are "one of my goals," via Mark Berman of Fox 26:

Harden has suited up for Team USA on a couple of occasions. He was a member of both the 2012 Olympic and 2014 FIBA World Cup squads, both of which took home gold. He averaged 5.5 points per game during the 2012 Olympics before taking on a bigger role at the 2014 World Cup, where he led the team in scoring at 14.2 PPG.

He was initially in the running for a spot on the 2016 Olympic team, but he ultimately withdrew from consideration. He noted at that time, though, that he wanted "to represent Team USA again in the future."

The 2017-18 NBA MVP was initially expected to be a part of the 2019 World Cup roster, but he withdrew in July so he could put his entire focus on the Rockets' upcoming season. He was one of 31 players to drop out of the running for the tournament, per ESPN's Brian Windhorst.

Team USA had its 78-game international win streak, which dated back to 2006, snapped during a pre-tournament exhibition against Australia. That was followed up by its worst showing ever at a major tournament, as it finished seventh at the World Cup while losing a pair of games.

Now, it appears as reinforcements are coming for the stars and stripes. 

Along with Harden, Golden State Warriors stars Draymond Green, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson have all expressed interest in playing in the 2020 Summer Games. Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard also plans on making the trip to Tokyo.

A core like that would put the United States in solid position to chase a fourth consecutive Olympic gold.

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