Team USA CEO Jerry Colangelo didn’t hold back when he revealed how the Team USA basketball roster for the Tokyo Olympics was created.
Colangelo – speaking about how 32-year-old Kevin Love, who had had one of his worst seasons with the Cavaliers, received an invitation to the Olympics – said Love reached out to him.
“I didn’t think Kevin would play Love. I wasn’t even sure he had much to play, ”Colangelo said of ESPN. “He reached out to us and said he was in shape and said he felt he owed us something.
“ And on that basis, ”he continued,“ we’re looking for someone more international Experience that was once a real rebounder and could still shoot the ball. Do you know how to be a twelfth man on a list.
« Well, it didn’t work out. He was out of shape. And it turned out he was way behind, « he said of Love, who helped Team USA win gold at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.
» So you go on. Call it a mistake. What is it called giving someone a chance. Someone who was cheap with us, ”said Colangelo.
Earlier this month, Love retired from the Tokyo Summer Games during Team USA’s training camp in Las Vegas. At the time, Love said in a statement that he felt he wasn’t ready to compete at the Olympic level. The longest-serving Cavalier also had a calf injury that put him out of action for most of the 2020-21 season.
The addition of Love to Team USA’s 12-man roster received mixed reviews. ESPN personality Jalen Rose, columnist and podcast host for The Post, said he doesn’t think Love deserves a place on the coveted list. Instead, Rose said Suns breakout star Deandre Ayton should have replaced Love.
Team USA took over Spurs striker Keldon Johnson and Nuggets center JaVale McGee in place of Love and Wizards guard Bradley Beal, who was marginalized after entering health and safety protocols for a COVID-19 problem.
Between looking for replacements for sudden squad withdrawals and waiting for the arrival of players delayed due to postseason and virus restrictions, Team USA faced a new breed of adversity en route to Tokyo.
When the team led by Kevin Durant started competing in the Summer Games, they fell short of the hype of previous squads, which cast doubt on the team.
The Americans suffered a shocking opening defeat against France last weekend, recovering but with a 54-point blowout win against Iran and brought Team USA back into the potential gold medal. This Saturday marks a crucial game for Team USA against the Czech Republic. A win would secure a fourth consecutive gold medal for the USA.
Despite the doubters, Colangelo said he believed Durant, Damian Lillard, coach Gregg Popovich and the rest of Team USA could take home the gold.
« If we don’t win, people have an opportunity to shoot. I’m the one who has to look in the mirror and know that I did my best, ”he said. “I’ll tell you in advance, the answer is yes. I think we will win. «
After the Olympic Games in Tokyo, Colangelo will retire after 16 years as managing director of the program.
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