Kenneth Faried has done an excellent job representing the Denver Nuggets on the world stage. He earned Gold with Team USA last offseason at the 2014 FIBA World Cup in Spain; where Faried averaged 12.2 points and 7.7 rebounds in nine games (and earned plenty of praise for his play). Faried had the following to say at media day, here from the Denver Post:
"I believed I was going to do it and everybody that didn't believe me said, 'You're selling a pipe dream to yourself. Snap back to reality,' " Faried said. "Well, this is reality. I have this medal around my neck and I'm proud of that."
Faried's play earned him another invite to the 2015 Team USA minicamp in Las Vegas that will take place next week in the desert.
Once again, the competition to make the team will be difficult, but it's awesome to see Faried there to represent his country and, in a sense, the Denver Nuggets, too. This comes after Faried was selected to play in the first ever NBA game in Johannesburg, South Africa, where he got to face off against Nuggets legend Dikembe Mutombo.
The Manimal persona definitely helps Faried get noticed among NBA fans. He plays the game with such passion and energy, it can and has effected games. While many of us gripe about the details of Faried's game (shooting, defense), it's also important to take a step back and realize what kind of unique player he is, and realize how great it is that he's getting these tremendous opportunities to showcase his game.
Congrats to Faried on earning the invite, it would be great to see him make the team.