Kevin Love was officially announced as a member of the U.S. Olympic men’s basketball roster on Monday after an ESPN analyst said him being on the team was a form of “tokenism.”
Love, Bam Adebayo, Bradley Beal, Devin Booker, Kevin Durant, Jerami Grant, Draymond Green, Jrue Holiday, Zach LaVine, Damian Lillard, Khris Middleton and Jayson Tatum also made the team. Head coach Gregg Popovich leads the staff with Steve Kerr, Lloyd Pierce and Jay Wright.
USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo touted the roster.
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“We are excited about the 12 players who have been selected to represent the United States in the Tokyo Olympics,” Colangelo said in a press release. “This was an unusually challenging selection process for many reasons, including the year postponement of the Olympics and the issues related to the timing of the NBA regular season and playoffs.”
He went on to say: “Our roster features players who are experienced in the international game, and this team has outstanding athleticism, versatility and balance. We also believe we have excellent leadership which is a necessity in order to develop the needed chemistry. We still have a lot of challenges in front of us, but I believe these players will become a team that all Americans will be proud of.”
Retired Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the USA Basketball Board of Directors, separately highlighted the quality of players the team has.
“USA Basketball selects players to represent our country in international competition with the skills, character, experience, and desire to win,” Dempsey said. “We build teams that are versatile and resilient in the short, intense competitions we face. We’re fortunate that this group of elite athletes has volunteered to represent us in Tokyo this summer.”
JALEN ROSE APOLOGIZES TO ‘THE GAME’ AFTER ‘TOKENISM’ REMARK, STILL DOESN’T BELIEVE KEVIN LOVE SHOULD MAKE TEAM
Jalen Rose said last week, before the roster was officially announced, that Love making the team was a form of “tokenism.”
In his initial comments on the podcast, Rose said, “I’m excited about the roster and I assume, and I know, we’re going to win the gold. But I’m disappointed in something. As I do this show every day, I do it in front of a picture of Tommie Smith and John Carlos raising their fist at the Olympics. I also know the favoritism that Christian Laettner was shown when he got a chance to be put on the Dream Team ahead of Shaq and Alonzo (Mourning). But they made it so a college player could even get on and gave him favoritism.
“But this level of, and I got a word for it … Kevin Love is on the team because of tokenism. Don’t be scared to make an all-Black team representing the United States of America. I’m disappointed by that. Anybody that watched the league this year knows Kevin Love did not have a stellar season, was not the best player on his team and did not necessarily deserve to be on this squad. And I’m not going to take him off the squad and not put somebody else on it. I’m going to tell you whose spot that should be.
“That should be a young man that was born in the Bahamas. That is a McDonald’s All-American, playing high school and college in Phoenix, Arizona. Deandre Ayton should have Kevin Love’s spot. And I’m disappointed in Team USA for not having the courage to send an all-Black team to the Olympics.”
Rose apologized to “the game” and for disrespecting some of the people he’s played with and looked up to in the past. He still didn’t think Love should be on the team.
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Love only appeared in 25 games for the Cleveland Cavaliers during the 2020-21 season. He still finished in the top five on the team in scoring with 12.2 points per game and was third in rebounds with 7.4 boards per game. He’s also emerged as a vital mental health advocate for the league.