'The top of the sport': Haliburton prepares for first Olympics with USA Basketball

The Oshkosh native will represent Team USA in Paris alongside basketball legends including LeBron James and Steph Curry.
2024 USAB Men's Portraits
Posted at 3:34 PM, Jul 09, 2024

LAS VEGAS (NBC 26) — Tyrese Haliburton has been a champion before.

Oshkosh North fans will remember he won a WIAA state title with the Spartans as a senior in 2018. He also won a gold medal with Team USA at the FIBA Under-19 World Cup in 2019.

Entering his first Olympics, the Oshkosh native is looking to add another to his mantle.

"I think winning a gold medal (at the Olympics) is the top of the sport," Haliburton told reporters before departing for Team USA training camp. "That and an NBA championship."

Haliburton and his 11 teammates are in Las Vegas this week preparing for the 2024 Games in Paris. The Olympics begin on July 26.

While Team USA has won four consecutive Olympic gold medals, and seven of the last eight, Haliburton understands a fifth straight won't come easy. He was a part of last summer's United States team that finished a disappointing fourth-place at the FIBA World Cup.

"Because we (USA Basketball) are and have been the gold standard of basketball, you're going to get every team's best shot," Haliburton said. "Understanding that people want to see you lose."

"Obviously last year we didn't do what we wanted to do and that was frustrating because anytime you get to represent USA Basketball, the expectation is to win," he said of the team's performance at the World Cup. "We weren't able to do that and you know, I think that kind of carried into this year where I had my most successful NBA season yet."

A season in which Haliburton made his second All-Star team and led the Pacers to the NBA's Eastern Conference Finals, beating his home-state Bucks in the process.

Now this summer, he's surrounded by stars: This Olympic team features legends including LeBron James, Steph Curry, and several others who were not a part of the World Cup team last summer.

"Everybody knows USA Basketball takes sacrifice," Haliburton said. "We've got a lot of guys who are going to play the right way, understanding that we all want to win. I'm sure that we've got one through 12 doing whatever they can to help us win so I'm excited about that."

The NBA's best are representing their home country, a tradition that dates all the way back to the Dream Team in 1992.

That, Haliburton said, is a dream in and of itself.

"I knew I wanted to be a part of that," he said. "I wanted to be a part of that because people I looked up to were a part of that, or people they looked up to were a part of that."

"I think that's the great part of USA basketball," Haliburton added. "There is a gold standard. It's gold medal or you failed but I think that pressure is good for us. That pressure is exciting."

Team USA has an exhibition against Canada in Las Vegas on Wednesday. Olympic group play begins July 28 as the Americans take on three-time NBA MVP Nikola Jokic and Serbia.