He might have to book it to Tokyo.
Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker has committed to join the 12-man roster for USA Basketball in the 2021 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Friday.
Booker and the Suns await their Western Conference Finals opponent as of Friday, and a deeper run by them into the postseason would keep Booker busy right up until the Olympics.
Opening ceremonies are set for July 23, and the NBA Finals were mapped out to have an end date of July 22 at the latest.
The 24-year-old Booker averaged 25.6 points, 4.2 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game in his sixth NBA regular season.
His commitment to the national team is not surprising, as Booker has been open about his interest in playing for Team USA. He was invited last year by USA Basketball men’s team managing director Jerry Colangelo.
“He and I had a good conversation about his interest and desire to participate,” Colangelo told Arizona Sports’ Doug & Wolf in February 2020.
Booker did not play for USA Basketball in the summer of 2019 as the United States finished in the seventh place for the FIBA World Cup. He has previously taken part in USA Basketball training camps but has not made a senior national team roster.
He, like many others, skipped that 2019 competition with his eyes more on making the 2020 Olympics that were ultimately postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the past, the FIBA World Cup remained two years separated from the Olympic cycle. Now that’s down to one year, which likely played a role in star players such as Booker prioritizing rest during FIBA for a role on the Olympic team.
Booker, who in 2019 told reporters he wanted to take the summer off to get healthy, said heading into the 2019-20 season that he would accept an invite to the Olympics in Tokyo. The pandemic, of course, changed the circumstances and timing of the Tokyo games.
“Yes, I would. I would love to,” he said.
“Just representing your country, playing in the Olympics, all of these things have been dreams of mine, so hopefully if I ever get the opportunity I’ll take full advantage of that. I know a lot of work goes into that. I know representing the country for USA Basketball can be one of the most prestigious things you can do.”