While the outside waits for the Warriors’ “Last Dance” season with Steph Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson entering the later stages of their careers, next summer’s Paris Olympics could be just that for Team USA and an era of NBA superstars, including Curry.
Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James is spearheading a recruitment pitch for several huge names to join him next summer and suit up for Warriors coach Steve Kerr’s squad, per The Athletic’s Shams Charania, citing multiple league sources. Curry and Green are part of that star-studded group, and this would be a first for one of the two Golden State greats.
Green is a two-time Olympic gold medalist, winning in 2016 and 2020. Curry has won gold twice as a member of Team USA, but never in the Olympics. Both honors have come from the FIBA World Cup, where the Americans finished a disappointing fourth place this year with a team that featured only three current All-Star players and nobody with national team experience.
Donning an Olympic gold medal around his neck virtually is the only major award missing from Curry’s mantle. And though James is being seen as the leader pushing for Curry and others to go for gold next summer, Curry has flirted with the idea multiple times in the past.
Now that Kerr is leading Team USA, the idea of playing in the Olympics seems to have piqued Curry’s interest even more than years before.
“I’m more than excited about the opportunity to do it,” Curry said to Marc Stein in January earlier this year. “Knowing that Coach Kerr is taking the lead and … I played on those two world championship teams and everybody who’s ever experienced both is never shy to mention how much different the Olympics is.
“They all say it’s not even close in terms of the vibe and the atmosphere and the buildup and the adrenaline and all that. I don’t know what the chances are, because you don’t know what’s going to happen, but I would love to have that experience at some point for sure.”
Golden State Warriors
Even Kerr couldn’t help but remind Curry of the blank space on his Hall of Fame résumé after his point guard won his fourth NBA championship and first NBA Finals MVP.
“No, he's missing an Olympic gold medal,” Kerr joked in Boston after winning it all in 2022, “and I think he really has to focus on being on the 2024 Olympic Team.
“That's the last thing for his career. Sorry, I couldn't resist.”
Now back to reality and what could get in Curry’s way. Curry will turn 36 years old in March and has missed longer stretches due to injuries in each of the last two seasons. The Olympics begin July 26, 2024, and that’s not even accounting for a training camp and slate of numerous exhibition games. Curry’s 2022-23 season ended in the middle of May, and he certainly expects it to possibly extend a month longer in another title push. Will he be drained by then? Will Curry, who takes extensive care of his body, deem injury worries too much to risk?
Kerr and the rest of USA Basketball have to cross their fingers for good health and a real desire by Curry to call himself an Olympic champion.
Everything regarding Team USA goes back to 1992 and the Dream Team. That gold stamped America’s basketball dominance and simultaneously grew the game more internationally. Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird and more forever will be remembered for that moment being part of their historic careers. When USA Basketball took steps backwards and competition looked to be catching up, then came the 2008 Redeem Team of James, Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony and multiple superstars.
This can be Curry’s latest chance to join his fellow all-timers and upend them, too. He already has more NBA rings than Bird and Wade, is one away from passing James to join Magic and Kobe and two from tying MJ. All those above have Team USA glory to their name.
Of course Team USA needs Steph, that’s not in question. They need him more than he needs them, however, Curry standing atop the Olympic medal stand as part of a Last Dance Team USA would be a rightful moment for a man who has transcended the sport.