Jayson Tatum is amid his second stint with Team USA, but this will be his first time playing in the Olympic Games.
The Boston Celtics star played with the men’s national team first in 2019 while participating in the FIBA World Cup, but a sprained ankle ended his stint early as the team finished seventh in the tournament.
Now, on the world’s biggest stage for athletics, Tatum is excited to represent his country again.
“Not being able to play (in 2019) and watching it was tough,” Tatum told The Boston Globe’s Gary Washburn. “Watching your teammates play out there and not being able to help. Kind of the reason I really wanted to play this time is to try to get that revenge.”
There are a few adjustments that come with playing international basketball, though, with Team USA having to get used to differences between FIBA rules and those of the NBA.
But the biggest difference will be off the court.
Due to the COVID-19 crisis still seriously impacting Japan, Tatum’s friends and family won’t be able to watch as he tries to earn the gold medal.
?That’s the toughest part, going to the Olympics for the first time and not being able to enjoy that experience with your family,” he said. “That is the worst part about all of these. Moments like these you’re supposed to be able to share with the people you’re closest with.”
Tatum missed Team USA’s first exhibition win against Argentina with knee soreness that has kept him day-to-day.
The Americans’ first Olympic game against France is set for July 25.