Duke basketball: Jayson Tatum bestowed great honor prior to Olympics

Former Duke basketball wing Jayson Tatum (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Former Duke basketball wing Jayson Tatum (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) /

Duke basketball wing Jayson Tatum earned a great honor prior to the Olympics. 

The basketball world is still in shock over the death of legend Kobe Bryant in January 2020, and Team USA is preparing to compete in its first Olympic Games since the death of the Hall of Famer, but a former Duke basketball great gets to live out his legacy.

Despite wearing No. 8 and No. 24 in his NBA career with the Los Angeles Lakers, Kobe Bryant wore No. 10 during his time with Team USA, and since the tragedy, the men’s national team has not competed until the Olympic roster gathered in Las Vegas for practice this week.

As jerseys were handed out, Jayson Tatum was given the honor of wearing Bryant’s No. 10 in Tokyo this summer.

Tatum idolized Bryant while growing up, and after he was drafted by the Boston Celtics out of Duke, he would work out with the former Lakers legend each offseason.

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In a media availability on Wednesday afternoon, Tatum discussed the honor of wearing Kobe Bryant’s No. 10 jersey: “With this being the first Olympics since we lost him, it holds that much more value. It’s not something I take lightly.”

Jayson Tatum brought the Boston Celtics to the First Round of the NBA Playoffs this season where the Brooklyn Nets quickly dismantled the C’s but not before the former Blue Devil guided Boston to one victory in the series with 50 points.

Tatum was named to his second straight All-Star Game this season after averaging 26.4 points, 7.4 rebounds, 4.3 assists, and 1.2 steals per game while shooting 45.9-percent from the field and 38.6-percent from 3-point range.

Duke basketball star will get on floor with Team USA very quickly

Team USA will continue its workouts and practices through July 18 before departing for Tokyo, but the men’s basketball national team will also play in a handful of exhibition games beginning on July 10.

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Jayson Tatum and the American’s will play Nigeria, Australia, and Argentina in scrimmages before joining Group A alongside the Czech Republic, Iran, and France in pool play at the Olympics.

Team USA will begin its quest for another gold medal on Sunday, July 25 as the American’s will play France in its first group game at 8:00am EST.

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