Report: OKC Thunder's James Harden a finalist for Team USA

BY JOHN ROHDE, Staff Writer, jrohde@opubco.com Modified: May 3, 2012 at 9:47 pm •  Published: May 3, 2012

DALLAS – Last month, Thunder sixth man James Harden admitted playing for Team USA has been a lifelong dream. Harden took one step closer to that dream Thursday when USA Basketball added him to the list of 20 finalists for this summer's Olympic team.

Harden said he learned of his selection from his agent Rob Pelinka and via text from Thunder general manager Sam Presti.

“It's an unbelievable feeling, and I definitely want to take advantage of the opportunity,” Harden said before Game 3 against the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Center.

The 2012 Summer Olympic Games will be held July 27-August 12 in London, where 12 teams will participate in the basketball competition.

Team USA's training camp in Las Vegas will be held July 6-12, after which its official 12-man roster will be determined.

The Thunder now has three finalists for this year's U.S. Olympic team and potentially could have four Olympians. All-Stars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook were on Team USA's gold-medal team at the 2010 FIBA Championship in Turkey to earn invites for the 2012 U.S. Olympic roster.

OKC forward Serge Ibaka, who recently became a Spanish citizen, will play for Spain's national team this summer.

“I'm excited. I'm excited for him,” Durant said of Harden. “I know it's something he wanted to do, so hopefully we get to be Olympic teammates. We're all working hard, and hopefully we all get to represent Oklahoma City.”

A third-year player out of Arizona State, Harden led the NBA in bench scoring this season with a 16.8 average and is a prohibitive favorite to win this year's Sixth Man Award.

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