Soon after battling out in the high-intensity best-of-seven series for the NBA title, Phoenix Suns point guard Devin Booker will join the stars of their NBA Finals opponent Milwaukee Bucks -- Jrue Holiday and Khris Middleton -- in the men's basketball for Team USA in the Tokyo Olympics.
Following the conclusion of the best-of-seven championship series, which Milwaukee leads 3-2 entering game six on Tuesday, all three will join the three-time reigning champion American team in Japan.
Personally, Booker has had an incredible outing in his first NBA Finals, producing two 40-point performances for the Suns, albeit in a losing cause. However, no matter how the series goes, winners and losers must set aside their rivalry quickly to unite in red, white and blue.
"I think we'll be fine," Middleton said Monday, according to AFP inputs. "Right now, we haven't said a word to each other. I'm sure we won't be best buddies during Team USA, but we'll be teammates for sure.
"We'll be on the same path, talking basketball Xs and Os, trying to get the job done. That's what being competitors is all about, but also what being a teammate is all about."
In the dying moments of Game 5, Holiday made a key steal from Booker and set it up for Giannis Antetokounmpo to dunk home the eventual game-winning points. Although passionate fights like these play out during the high-intensity, there's underlying respect between the player.
"I would say just understanding competition and that it's never personal between who you're going with, unless lines are crossed," Booker said.
"Those guys aren't that type and I would never go that way with them, because there's a high respect level for each other. I think that's why we're in the position that we're in right now.
"Representing your country is a whole different dynamic than competing against each other in the NBA Finals, but I can always respect somebody that competes at the highest level."
Meanwhile, for Team USA it hasn't been the best of starts to their campaign as they lost two of their exhibition games in Las Vegas against Nigeria and Australia.
Unfortunately, Washington guard Bradley Beal will not make it to Tokyo after testing positive for COVID-19 while another guard, Chicago's Zach LaVine, forced to stay home from the team's flight to Japan after being placed into COVID-19 protocols.
"I heard about all that," Holiday said. "Fortunately for me, I'm in probably one of the biggest games of my career, this coming-up game."
Both Bucks players said it wasn't a tough decision to play for the US team, even with a tight turnaround from the NBA Finals, which could go to a seventh game on Thursday, to Sunday's start of Olympic competition.
"It wasn't that difficult," said Middleton. "Just being an Olympian, representing our country and having a chance to play for a gold medal with a great team, that was it.
There was no such thing as too much basketball for Middleton.
"Doesn't bother me at all. I love basketball. I love playing it," he said. "During the off-season it's hard for me to take a couple weeks off because I want to be back in the gym doing something, working on my game.
"And one advantage of it is I don't have to get back in shape. Once you get out of shape, it's hard to get those wheels going again."
Holiday is married to Lauren Cheney, a two-time Olympic champion with the US women's soccer team.
"There's a component of playing for your country, for your family, my wife being a two-time Olympian is also a factor," he said. "But I think not having a break and just feeling like, well, we're in the finals, why not just continue playing basketball?
"Win the championship. And just go from there. I feel like the goal for us and one of the dreams for me since I was a little kid was winning an NBA Championship. That's what I'm focused on right now."