Vice President Kamala Harris encourages US men's basketball to 'bring back the gold' as Paris Olympics loom


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A surprise visitor dropped by the U.S. men’s national basketball team’s practice on Tuesday. Vice President Kamala Harris stopped by Team USA’s training camp, but she did not leave without delivering a clear message.

“Bring back the gold,” Harris said as she addressed the team.

Harris, a California native, has previously expressed her support for the Golden State Warriors. Team USA is currently being led by Warriors coach Steve Kerr and Steph Curry is on this year’s roster.

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Kamala Harris USA Basketball

Vice President Kamala Harris attends practice during the USAB Mens Training Camp on July 9, 2024 at UNLV in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Jim Poorten/NBAE via Getty Images)

Kerr said the vice president’s visit helped remind everyone about the golden opportunity the team has to represent the US.

“It’s a great reminder of the fact that we’re playing for our country,” Kerr said. “Vice President Harris told the guys how much she admired them, how much they really embody excellence and that we are going over there to try to win a gold medal for our country.  She said that it’s a demonstration of our patriotic feeling of being part of something special for our country. And I think the guys really listened to every word.”

KAWHI LEONARD WITHDRAWS FROM USA BASKETBALL OLYMPIC TEAM

Harris was spotted chatting with two-time Olympic gold medalist LeBron James. She also posed for a group photo with the team.

Jrue Holiday USA basketball

Jrue Holiday #12 and Jayson Tatum #10 of the USA Basketball Men’s Team smile during USAB Men’s Training Camp in Las Vegas on July 9, 2024 in Las Vegas Nevada. (Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images)

“Truly, you all represent the best of the best,” Harris told them. “And being Team USA, it is about representing our nation. You are, as you are every day on and off the court, ambassadors for who we are as a country. You represent leaders in every walk of life. And for you to go to Paris and bring back that gold is just another example of your excellence, your teamwork, your compassion and your commitment.”

LeBron James USA basketball

LeBron James #6 and Tyrese Haliburton #9 of the USA Basketball Men’s Team looks on during USAB Men’s Training Camp in Las Vegas on July 9, 2024 in Las Vegas Nevada. (Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images)

Team USA assistant and longtime Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra said he was not aware Harris was going to stop by the practice.

“It was a pretty special moment for the entire group,” Spoelstra said. “She just mentioned that we represent our country and everybody’s going to be watching and rooting for us, and it’s a big responsibility. But she knows that we all are putting in the work to represent everybody here and do it with class.”

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The U.S. men’s team plays its first of five pre-Olympic exhibition games Wednesday against Canada in Las Vegas. Even though that game won’t have any bearing on the Olympics — the first U.S. game in France is against Serbia on July 28 — Harris encouraged the team to go ahead and start winning now.

“Our nation is cheering you on, and we are so proud of you,” Harris said. “Beat Canada and bring back that gold.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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