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West Point tour moves Team USA

WEST POINT, N.Y. -- As a professional athlete, Kyle Korver answers questions from inquisitive fans all the time.

But on Monday morning at the United States Military Academy at West Point, Korver was the one with all of the questions.

"Why did you want to come here?" the sharpshooter asked cadets. "Why do you want to be a part of this?"

The answers to those questions moved the NBA vet.

"To be able to come here and talk to everybody and understand why they're here. ... To hear why their heart's behind it all is really great and inspiring," Korver said.

Korver and the rest of the men's national team spent the day at the service academy in support of the program's Commitment to Service collaboration with the U.S. Department of Defense.

Most of the players left the academy with impressions similar to Korver's.

"To know a little bit long-term what their sacrifice means to our country, to see where most of that service starts is pretty amazing," Stephen Curry said.

Curry and his teammates began the day with a visit to West Point Cemetery. There, families of those lost in battle met with players.

For Derrick Rose, it was a poignant experience.

"It kind of grabs you right away because you were somewhere people sacrificed and dedicated their whole life to serving," Rose said.

Members of the military told players of one servicewoman who died at 25.

The story stuck with Rose.

"That's my age and she's already gone," he said.

After visiting the cemetery, the players watched cadets perform fitness and water endurance tests. They also walked past a wall dedicated to USA coach Mike Krzyzewski's Teaching Character Through Sport Award. There, the players found a picture of Krzyzewski as a young cadet. Kyrie Irving, who played for Krzyzewski at Duke, couldn't help but chuckle.

A little levity was fine with Krzyzewski. But the ex-cadet wanted to make sure his players knew the significance of the site.

"You go to a place like this, you get it," said Krzyzewski, who played at West Point under Bobby Knight and later coached at the academy. "A day like today is one of the most important days. To spend a day here is better than any offensive or defensive drill you can have. It bonds the team together."

The players finished the day by scrimmaging and going through drills in front of cadets and military families at Christl Arena.

For Korver, playing in front of young men and women who might one day be called on to defend the country struck a chord.

"It's good to be reminded of why we play and why we fight and why we are doing this," he said. "They are fighting for our freedom, they're going to fight for the freedoms that we have. Just to see why they do it, it was a great experience."