Lets get this out of the way up front. Kareem Maddox did not make the Olympic Games. His attempt to be part of the Olympic debut of 3x3 basketball in Tokyo was foiled when the U.S. basketball squad was eliminated during trials following a tough contest against the Netherlands.
But that's not the end of his journey. Far from it. How much we learn about ourselves in defeat is far more valuable than what we learn following our successes. So while Kareem Maddox may not technically be an Olympian we can call our new favorite, it's clear that his story and his spirit are the embodiment of what makes the Olympic games special. (CLICK HERE to subscribe on your favorite podcast platform or CLICK HERE to watch the full video.)
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Maddox joined NBCLX's podcast "My New Favorite Olympian" to discuss his Olympic journey and all the bumps that have come with it.
Maddox, a former Princeton University Tiger, reveals the sacrifice he made to pursue his Olympic quest, including quitting his position as a podcast producer for Spotify's podcasting arm, Gimlet Media, to train for the games.
"I think a lot of people would look at the decision and then look at the end results and be like, 'Were all the sacrifices and compromises you made to give it a shot worth it?'" Maddox said.
"And for me, absolutely," says Maddox. "I think that the amount of growth that I underwent in the past year in training for this one thing was really important for me as a person."
Maddox says he takes comfort in knowing he and his teammates did everything within their power to make their Olympic dreams happen. "That's just part of sports, really, is disappointment. And the thing you don't want to be left with is regret. And as of now, I don't feel like I have any regrets," he says. "In hindsight it was the best risk I've taken."
As far as what's next, Maddox is already looking ahead to 2024. "That's only three years away. Time moves really fast these days. So that's in the back of my mind. And, you know, life does go on. There are other things that I like to do and that are important to me, like podcasting is one of them. And at this point nothing's stopping me from from continuing to pursue the Olympics for three on three."
For more of our conversation with Maddox check out our podcast "My New Favorite Olympian" hosted by NBCLX's Ngozi Ekeledo and Olympic fencing medalist Ibtihaj Muhammad. To check past episodes or subscribe, CLICK HERE on your favorite podcast platform.