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U.S. OLYMPIC BASKETBALL Allen, Duncan, Kidd, McGrady first picks



Published: Mon, February 17, 2003 @ 12:00 a.m.



USA Basketball made its first four choices to the U.S. Olympic men's basketball team.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Ray Allen, Tim Duncan, Jason Kidd and Tracy McGrady were the first four players chosen Thursday for the 2004 U.S. Olympic men's basketball team, with Kobe Bryant conspicuously absent -- for now.

The long-awaited announcement was made in Colorado Springs, Colo., by USA Basketball, which said Bryant could be added to the team at a later date once a contractual issue is cleared up.

Bryant is "very interested" in playing on the team, the national team organizing committee said. The committee added that he has been asked to play on the team, but has yet to sign the organization's standard player contract.

"USA Basketball remains hopeful that he will be added to the roster at a future date," the statement said.

Arn Tellem, the agent for Bryant, did not immediately return a call.

Said he will play

Bryant said last month he plans to play on the team, which will compete in the Americas zone qualifying tournament in San Juan, Puerto Rico, in late August.

If the Americans finish among the top three at the qualifier, they will earn a trip to Athens for the 2004 Olympics. The NBA players are looking to atone for their sixth-place showing at last summer's world championships in Indianapolis.

"I thought the team put together to represent us was good enough to win the gold medal, but obviously it wasn't," McGrady said before Thursday night's game at Detroit. "It's motivation for us to show everybody that we still have the best players in the world."

On 2000 team

Allen, of the Milwaukee Bucks, and Kidd, of the New Jersey Nets, were members of the Olympic gold medal team in 2000.

Duncan was last season's MVP with the San Antonio Spurs, and McGrady of the Orlando Magic is this season's leading scorer. Duncan was originally named to the 2000 team, but had to withdraw because of injury.

The qualifying tournament Aug. 20-31 will include 10 teams from North, South and Central America.




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