Bradley Beal sees the Olympics as an opportunity to do much more than represent his country and hopefully win a gold medal. He also views it as a way to improve his game, both by playing more high-level basketball and also by paying close attention to some of his teammates.
Beal is one of 12 stars who made Team USA, but there are levels to their stardom. Beal is a three-time All-Star and now an All-NBA selection, but then there's Kevin Durant who is a former MVP, a four-time league scoring champ, 11-time All-Star and two-time NBA champion. Durant also already has two Olympic gold medals from 2012 and 2016.
Team USA's training camp is just getting started in Las Vegas, but as Beal told NBC Sports Washington's Chris Miller, he's already learning quite a bit by watching Durant and others like Damian Lillard go about their work.
"Just from afar, I've been real observant of K.D. He's a champion and MVP. On top of that, he's an Olympian, too. So, this is not his first rodeo, being on this stage. I'm definitely always attentive to him and what he does," Beal said.
"Dame, the same thing. They're very business-like. I love their approach to the game. It's all business-like, it's serious. They're here to work, to get their work in, put their hard hats on and lace up the boots and get ready to go. That's what I admire."
Beal is an accomplished NBA player and has every reason to believe in himself, particularly as a scorer after leading the East in points per game each of the last two seasons. He's seen everything the league's top defenses can offer and he still gets buckets.
Guys like Durant and Lillard, though, have been at that level for longer and Beal has noticed something different about them.
"Just watching how they approach the game, what they work on and just how they carry themselves. They have a confident swagger about themselves. They know who they are. You're not going to change their game. They're always just trying to be the best that they can be. You admire that as a peer, and it's motivation. Every year there are young guys. Like, we're playing our select team tomorrow," Beal said.
The USA Select Team features a collection of talented young American players like Anthony Edwards, Tyler Herro and Tyrese Haliburton. Those players will train with the U.S. men's national team and scrimmage them beginning on Wednesday.
Beal said facing them will be a good reminder for the veterans their time on top won't last forever.
"All these kids, they're coming up next behind us," he said. 'So, that's just always a constant reminder you've gotta keep putting that work in."
See more of Chris Miller's interview with Beal Thursday on News4 at 5 and News4 at 6 PM.