Damian Lillard is among 57 finalists for Team USA, the squad that will play in the 2021 Summer Olympics. Teammate CJ McCollum was not listed among the finalists, but he has since clarified that he “respectfully declined” the opportunity.
David Aldridge tweeted out the list yesterday. It includes Lillard and fellow point guards Jrue Holiday, Trae Young, Fred VanVleet, John Wall, Kyrie Irving, Chris Paul, Mike Conley, Kemba Walker, Russell Westbrook, and Kyle Lowry. Kevin Durant, James Harden, LeBron James, and Kawhi Leonard also populate the list.
USA Basketball announces the 57 finalists for the U.S. men’s Olympic team: pic.twitter.com/uu7ZbULVU5— David Aldridge (@davidaldridgedc) March 11, 2021
In response to a NBCSports Northwest article lamenting his omission, McCollum indicated that he opted out of the process.
I wasn’t snubbed although I appreciate the article. I respectfully declined https://t.co/oMK0WSI9b6— CJ McCollum (@CJMcCollum) March 12, 2021
Lillard has been a part of the national team selection process previously—most notably in 2016, in preparation for the last Olympics, but also before the 2019 Basketball World Cup—but he has never participated in the main squad, voluntarily leaving the system.
The 2020 Summer Olympic Games were postponed due to the worldwide onset of COVID-19. The 2021 Summer Olympics are scheduled for this July, leaving a relatively-short ramp-up period at the conclusion of the 2020-21 NBA season.