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Bradley Beal praises Kevin Durant’s ‘terrific’ leadership at Team USA camp

Team USA kicked off training camp in Las Vegas, Nev., this week ahead of the Tokyo Olympics later this month, and one of the most decorated basketball players in Olympics history is receiving deserved praise over how he’s taken on a leadership role amid the buildup to the Games.

Team USA conducted its second day of camp on Wednesday, and Washington Wizards star Bradley Beal told reporters afterward how the Brooklyn Nets’ Kevin Durant is doing an outstanding job of inspiring the squad.

“His leadership is terrific. He’s 39-0 in USA basketball and that’s crazy,” Beal said of Durant, per Nets Daily. “We definitely want to keep that going. It speaks volumes for him to be 10+ years in the league and still wanting to come back and be a part of this prestigious fraternity. We definitely look up to him to push us and lead us, but at the same time, he’s very unselfish. He’s very encouraging. He wants everyone to do well.”

As alluded to by Beal in his comments, Durant has enjoyed a remarkable international career representing the U.S. A soon-to-be three-time participant in the Summer Games, Durant has won two Gold Medals (2012, 2016). Further, as Beal noted, Durant enjoys an undefeated 39-0 record as a member of the U.S. squad in both FIBA and Olympic events.

Beal went on to share Durant’s simple message to the Team USA squad in remarks to the players.

“He said something very unique today,” Beal said. “He said ‘be special. That’s why we’re here.’ And that stuck on to me. So hopefully, we can keep that mentality and understand that we’re here for a reason.”

The U.S. Men’s Olympic Basketball Team of course are unquestioned favorites in Tokyo. Much of that has to do with the presence of a seasoned and successful Durant.

While it was unclear ahead of camp whether Durant would indeed join the squad coming off a challenging season both on and off the court, Team USA head coach Gregg Popovich jokingly revealed this week the absurd and desperate lengths he was willing to go to convince the superstar to head to Tokyo.

Training camp for Team USA, which also includes some exhibition games, wraps up on July 18. The team’s Olympics get underway in the round-robin group stage on July 25 with a showdown with France. Group A play against Iran on July 28 and a showdown with the Czech Republic on July 31 follows, according to USA Basketball’s official site.