U.S. men’s basketball team entertains special guest in Vegas

LAS VEGAS – Vice President Kamala Harris made a visit Tuesday to the U.S. men’s basketball team’s final practice before an exhibition game against Canada.

She watched the conclusion of practice and spent time speaking to the team and posed for photos with players on the court while talking to players and coaches, including a brief one-on-one conversation with Steph Curry. Harris was in Las Vegas for a campaign event.

“She told the guys how much she admired them and how they really embodied excellence and the fact 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.”

The visit reminded everyone of the purpose of traveling to Paris for the Olympics in two weeks.

“Pretty special moment for the entire group,” U.S. assistant coach Erik Spoelstra said. “She just mentioned that we represent our country and everybody is going to be watching and rooting for us. It’s a big responsibility.”

Kerr, who coaches the Golden State Warriors, pointed out twice that Harris’ husband, Doug Emhoff, is a Los Angeles Lakers fan.

“I’ve met her many times given that she’s from Oakland and we’ve been fortunate enough to visit the White House when she was there, but also on a few trips to California,” Kerr said. “I’ve met her several times and she’s a Warriors fan. She loves our team. She loves basketball. Yeah, the first gentleman is a Lakers fan, unfortunately, but we will live with that.”

Team USA will play Canada on Wednesday, the first of five exhibition games before the 12-member squad heads to Paris for the Summer Olympics. It is the gold medal favorite.

Follow NBA reporter Jeff Zillgitt on social media @JeffZillgitt

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