It was set up to be a great story, two childhood friends from St. Louis who went to the same high school reunited as teammates in the Olympics, as Team USA men's basketball goes for gold. But just days before the U.S. team was set to leave for Tokyo, Japan, Bradley Beal entered health and safety protocol and was quickly replaced on the roster.
The dream he and Jayson Tatum thought they were about to realize was not meant to be, at least not this year. On Thursday, Tatum addressed the media and shared his reaction to the news.
"First and foremost, I was just concerned with his health and just making sure he's going alright and he's fine. No major problems or anything like that," Tatum said
"But yeah, I was upset. This was going to be a great opportunity for both of us to play together in the Olympics. Unfortunately, it's not going to be able to happen."
Tatum is moving forward with Team USA, hoping to win a gold medal despite the fact they lost one of their best scorers in Beal. The United States team is expected to get some reinforcements soon with the NBA Finals being over, as Jrue Holiday and Khris Middleton of the Bucks plus Devin Booker of the Suns are set to fly in.
That should help backfill what Beal was going to provide at the guard position, but they still have some legitimate competition to navigate in their quest for a medal. If they do get a medal, Tatum hopes Beal gets one, just as Draymond Green said earlier this month.
"I'm looking forward to competing out here and winning a gold medal and making sure we have an extra one for him," Tatum said.