After being cut from Team USA in 2019, the 23-year old big man is determined to show why he deserves to represent the United States in this summer’s Tokyo Olympics.
Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo expected to make the squad in 2019 to represent Team USA in the FIFA World Cup. After all, he dominated in practices. There’s video to prove it. But the staff decided to go in a different direction, citing Adebayo ‘wasn’t ready’ for the competition. Adebayo took it very personally.
So personally in fact, he went on to have a breakout season averaging 15.9 points and 10.2 rebounds. The Heat went all the way to the NBA Finals before succumbing to the Los Angeles Lakers.
But Bam is here now. And ready to put in the work. During Tuesday’s press conference with the media, Adebayo explained what he felt when he was cut in 2019.
“It was just a chip (on my shoulder),” said Adebayo. “I’ve always excelled when I had a chip or if I had something motivating me. Being cut was a motivation for me. Like I said before, I feel like I should’ve been on the team. But I got this opportunity now. It’s time to show why I got this opportunity and the ultimate goal is to get a gold medal.”
USA Basketball Managing Director Jerry Colangelo talked about Adebayo in his introductory press conference and stated what he believes Bam can bring to the team.
“Bam (is someone) we’ve always liked,” said Colangelo. “He’s a young, athletic guy. He can run the court. He’s a shot blocker. He plays above the rim. A young guy like that is very important. Everyone has a role and he has a specific job to do and I’m sure he’ll do it well.”
In 64 games for the Miami Heat this season, Adebayo bumped up his scoring averages to 18.7 points and 9.0 rebounds.