Anthony Edwards Says He’s Team USA’s “Number One Option”

“They’ve got to fit in to play around me"

Anthony Edwards spoke to reporters in a Team USA press conference Sunday
Anthony Edwards spoke to reporters in a Team USA press conference Sunday.
Team USA

Anthony Edwards’s ego has gone international. In a press conference Sunday, the Minnesota superstar called himself Team USA’s “number one option,” a bold claim against the likes of LeBron James, Steph Curry and Joel Embiid. “I just go out there and be myself, shoot my shots, play defense,” he joked with reporters. “They’ve got to fit in to play around me.”

This attitude isn’t new, and it isn’t wholly unjustified. In the 2023/24 season, Ant led his Timberwolves to a .683 record and their first conference championship in two decades. He’s a two-time all-star with tremendous scoring power and high crunch-time output. In the 2024 playoff season, Edwards averaged 27.6 points and 40.5 minutes across his 16 games played. In the regular season, he led the Wolves in points, minutes and steals.

Ant’s attitude has also generated a feedback loop of media coverage, which scores him more screen time and the league a pompous new superstar. “I’m not just a guy who can score,” Edwards told ESPN in May, “I’m a guy who can go: whoever their best guard is, I can lock him down.”

With that said, one must withhold credit where it remains unearned. On a team with six champions, four MVPs, 12 all-stars and more than 125 combined seasons, Ant is a baby megalodon in a vast ocean. Moreover, in a league where rings, awards and longevity are critical to any discussion of greatness, Edwards’s lack of accolades and four brief seasons are nothing to write home about. 

Additionally, Ant’s niche on Team USA’s roster remains uncertain. Though an official lineup is yet to be released, LeBron James, Steph Curry and Joel Embiid are all but locks for the starting five. Should Kevin Durant recover from his calf injury, he will certainly join their ranks, leaving the squad’s eight non-MVPs to vie for a single spot.

Though Edwards is a top candidate, he must compete against the Celtics’s Jayson Tatum, fresh off his first championship victory. Tatum, who recently signed the most valuable contract in NBA history, led Ant in points and field goal percentage (fg%) last season and eclipsed him in rebounds. He’s also a 7-year league vet and 5-time All-Star. Edwards, meanwhile, benefits from a better all-around profile, exceeding Tatum in assists and steals. Besides his explosive on-court presence and generational dunking talent, Ant also offers an implacable x factor, which manifests in his haughty smile and feels handcrafted to represent the United States.

American Olympians Are Bringing Air Conditioners to Paris
Comfort and sustainability are at odds here

Team USA is led by Steve Kerr, the iconic Golden State coach who’s just one ring short of two gold-coated fists. He’s collaborated with Edwards once before, as his head coach during the 2023 FIBA World Cup, a tourney in which Ant was actually Team USA’s “number one option.” Though Edwards dominated his teammates in points, the United States suffered devastating losses to Germany and Canada on their way to a disappointing fourth place finish. With his return to Kerr’s legion and the international stage, Edwards must steel himself and prepare to face opponents tougher and grittier than he did then. Team USA is poised to play their premier match against Serbia, a team which may be led by Nikola Jokíc, perhaps the most transcendent player in the NBA.

Though Ant is marked by his endearing egotism, he’s also a stellar hype man and boon to team culture. Steadying himself in the midst of his Team USA press conference, Edwards addressed the reporters’ room with an air of fraternal pride. “They mentioned some guys, we might not play some games or might not play that many minutes,” he said. “I don’t mind. I’m playing alongside Hall of Famers.”

Win the Ultimate Formula 1® Miami Grand Prix Experience

Want the F1 experience of a lifetime? Here’s your chance to win tickets to see Turn 18 Grandstand, one of Ultimate Formula 1® Miami Grand Prix’s most premier grandstands!