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USA's Anthony Davis: ''We come together and fight for one goal - to win a gold medal''
NEW ORLEANS (United States) - Anthony Davis has firmly declared his hope of playing for the USA at a second straight FIBA Basketball World Cup.
A huge part of the 2014 American team that reached the top of the podium in Spain, Davis says it's fun to wear his national team shirt and he wants to always be selected.
"Yes, I plan to play," he said to the FIBA World Basketball television program. "I like playing for USA Basketball, playing for the USA team, representing my country, so I plan on playing."
"THE GOOD THING ABOUT USA BASKETBALL IS IT'S NOT JUST ON ONE PERSON. EVERY GUY ON THAT ROSTER IS ABLE TO DO SOMETHING SPECIAL AND WE COME TOGETHER AND TRY TO FIGHT FOR ONE GOAL, AND THAT'S TO WIN A GOLD MEDAL."
Still only 26 years of age, Davis has had some unforgettable experiences on the hardwood. In his one season with the Kentucky Wildcats, Davis led the team to the 2012 NCAA title and was named as the Final Four's Most Outstanding Player.
Just several months later, he was on the USA team that went unbeaten at the London Olympics. To then have a prominent role for his national team two years later in Spain was the thrill of a lifetime.
Davis had some high-scoring games in 2014 and some spectacular moments for a national team that rolled to a second straight world title.
"Those times were very special," he said of representing the USA. "I’d never played international basketball before. And 2012 (Olympics), I didn't really get to play, I was kind of like, you know, the guy who was just cheering everybody on.
"But that experience helped me in 2014, (being) able to help lead those guys and play my part, and getting me used to playing international basketball. And it was a fun experience, and just being able to represent the country and win gold, it’s something I look forward to every time."
"I LIKE PLAYING FOR USA BASKETBALL, FOR THE USA TEAM, REPRESENTING MY COUNTRY SO I PLAN ON PLAYING."
At the London Olympics, Davis had a chance to rub shoulders with USA greats like LeBron James and Kobe Bryant.
"It was good," Davis said. "I don't think nobody ever had the opportunity to do that at a young age. Most guys go to summer league, in Vegas in the summer, and play with the (NBA) team.
"I was able to go to London and play with those guys, (at) 18 years old, 19 years old, and learn so much from them that I probably wouldn't have had the chance to learn in the summer league. So I feel like I got ahead of the curve with that, and those guys taught me so much."
Davis learned a lot with the USA at the London Olympics despite not playing much
No team has beaten the USA at an Olympics or a World Cup since 2006. Davis knows there are teams that will be ready to pounce in China if the Americans are not fully focused.
"Spain always has a good team," he said. "Marc Gasol, of course, will play and those are probably my match-ups, and those guys are great players. And a lot of players that you see playing or Spain, Argentina, or whatever, play in the NBA, so we’re kind of familiar with some of those guys."
Davis says he relishes taking on teams that are going to pull out all stops against the USA.
"ALL INTERNATIONAL PLAYERS WANT TO WIN. AND THEY GIVE US GOOD GAMES EVERY TIME WE PLAY THEM."
"The competitive nature of international basketball is the most fun," he said. "I think being out there and playing with those guys, in the NBA and then also in international basketball, it’s fun, and it brings that competitive nature out of you. All international players want to win. And they give us good games every time we play them."
There is also the possible scenario of Davis being reunited with his teammate in the 2014 team, James Harden, in China. Harden, among the best players at the tournament in Spain, has already stated he wants to play at the World Cup.
Davis and Harden helped the USA beat Lithuania in the Semi-Finals of
the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup
"James is playing very special basketball right now," Davis said, referring to Harden's season in the NBA with the Playoffs-bound Houston Rockets. "He's carrying his team. He's playing at a level that no one has really seen in a long time. And with him playing for USA Basketball, I think it helps the team. I always love playing with James with USA Basketball and he's a special player.
"Obviously we know he can score, but the good thing about USA Basketball is it's not just on one person. Every guy on that roster is able to do something special and we come together and try to fight for one goal, and that’s to win a gold medal."