27 Jul
    10 Aug 2024

    Jamal Murray wants to play and Shai not worried about anybody

    OKLAHOMA CITY (USA) - Shai Gilgeous-Alexander doesn't fear retribution from the USA at the Olympics this summer in France after their triumph over them in the Third-Place Game at the World Cup.

    OKLAHOMA CITY (USA) - Canada's outlook for this summer's Olympic Games basketball tournament is exceptionally bright. Building on their momentum from securing third place at the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023, the team is now aiming even higher. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, in the midst of an MVP-caliber season with the Oklahoma City Thunder, is particularly focused on making a significant impact in Paris 2024 and he doesn't fear retribution from USA at the Olympics this summer in France.

    The Canadians, who defeated their North American rivals to reach the podium of the World Cup for the first time last summer, have heard talk that a more experienced and talented USA team will be at the Olympics to exact revenge.


    Past USA Olympic gold medalists like LeBron James, Chris Paul and Kevin Durant, who weren't in the World Cup team that Canada beat 127-118 after overtime in the Third-Place Game, are in the 41-man player pool for this year.

    So are two-time World Cup winner Steph Curry, superstar Kawhi Leonard,  and other Olympic gold medal winners from the past like Paul George, Anthony Davis, Kyrie Irving, Jimmy Butler, Devin Booker, Jayson Tatum, Jrue Holiday, Damian Lillard and Bam Adebayo.

    "No, I don't worry at all," Gilgeous-Alexander said to complex.com. "At the end of the day, they're basketball players.

    "Now, they may be some of the best in the world but our team has some of the best in the world as well and we don't fear any of them.

    Canada's team at the World Cup was full of talented players, many of them on NBA rosters

    "We play them all year (in the NBA). They're the same basketball players. They sweat and bleed just like us and the ball's gonna tip and at the end of the night and you're gonna find out who's a better team.

    "It's whether you play USA or you play Lithuania, whether you play Spain, that's what it comes down to. So for us, there's no difference."

    Canada should, in fact, be stronger themselves.

    Jamal Murray wants to play

    Jamal Murray, who teamed up with Nikola Jokic to help the Denver Nuggets win the NBA title last season, intends to join the Canada team in France.

    He told Eurohoops.net: "I’m excited to be there. We have a great squad, (it) was great to see them win a medal. Hopefully, we can go our way and win gold this summer.

    Jamal Murray with Canada back in 2015

    "I’m excited to see the group we have. We've got so many underrated guys on the team that you don’t really pay attention to, who can impact the game in many ways."

    Murray averaged an impressive 26.1 points and 7.1 assists over 20 playoff games on his way to the NBA title in 2023. The prospect of a healthy Murray joining forces with Shai in the backcourt for Canada presents a formidable challenge for any team in the world.

    And no one will take Canada lightly after their World Cup performance. They also blew out France, Lebanon and Latvia, and defeated Spain and Slovenia.


    The Draw for the Olympic tournament was held last week and Canada ended up in Group A with Australia, and the eventual winners of the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournaments to be staged in July in Greece and Spain.

    Thunder general manager Sam Presti correctly predicted Gilgeous-Alexander would have a great season in the NBA after taking part in the World Cup.

    He is among the leading contenders for the league MVP award, averaging 30.5 points per game with the Thunder possessing a 49-21 record.

    "It would be a dream come true," he said, if named MVP. "It's something that you dream about as a kid. You shoot hoops in your backyard and imagine that you're MVP to the crowds, chanting your name. It's surreal to even just be in the conversation. I would obviously be ecstatic and love to win the award. It's something that I definitely want."

    More important are the wins. Gilgeous-Alexander wants to be an NBA champion. It's not something the pundits were giving the Thunder much of a chance of becoming before the season.

    "Me personally, I know we don't care about what the media has to say about us or what people think about us," he said.

    "Before the season, we were supposed to be a play-in team. We didn't care what people were saying about us and now we're top of the west. So for us, it's just focusing on winning games at the end of the day and being the best basketball players that we can be individually and as a collective."

    Gilgeous-Alexander, 25, has played so well the past few years that some believe he could become the best player ever to hail from his country.

    That would have been a tall order a few years ago, considering Steve Nash is also Canadian. Yet the recent evidence suggests he could be regarded as the best one day. Does he think it's possible?



    "Yes but I always felt like this is what I've been taught," he said. "Like I can achieve anything I put my mind to and anything I work for. I've made it to the NBA and made it this far in achieving this amount of things.

    "And if you asked everyone in my life and everyone that I've been around 10 years ago if I could achieve it, they'd say I was crazy. So I try not to put a cap on what I can do and a limit on what I can do and I try to reach for the stars."




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