FOR Tristan Thompson, playing for Canada in the Fiba Olympic Qualifying Tournament isn’t about personal glory to cap off a brilliant season, but to help and contribute for his team to achieve its goal of making it to Rio.
Thompson is on the verge of a memorable year as he is one win away from getting a slot in the Olympics after reaching the finals of the Manila OQT. It came just a few weeks after he was part of the Clevelend Cavaliers who won the 2016 NBA title.
The Cavs forward, however, isn’t after personal glory as he's just happy to be part of the Canadian team, not thinking what lies ahead for the 25-year-old if his team wins the Fiba OQT in the same year he became NBA champion.
“Coach Jay (Triano), the whole coaching staff, the front office put a team together to come here and win. We traveled this far. The guys went to multiple destinations to prepare for this moment. I’m just glad I was able to join and be part of this,” said Thompson.
Showing the same energy that helped catapult the Cavaliers to the NBA crown, Thompson finished with a double-double in the semifinal match against New Zealand, chalking up 13 points and 10 rebounds in the 78-72 win over the Tall Blacks in his best game so far in the competition.
“For me, it’s about coming here and bringing my energy. With this team, we have to make sacrifices and identify their role. Coach Jay said that from Day One. For me, it’s just to compete every night and play," he said.
"I’m not worried about stats. For me, it’s competing and doing what it takes to win because winning trumps everything,” Thompson added.