Team USA managing director Jerry Colangelo didn’t hold back when revealing how the Team USA Basketball roster came about for the Tokyo Olympics.
Colangelo — while discussing how 32-year-old Kevin Love, who came off one of his worst seasons with the Cavaliers, earned an invitation to the Olympics — said Love reached out to him.
“I didn’t think Kevin Love was going to play. I wasn’t even sure he had much left to play,” Colangelo said, via ESPN. “He reached out to us and said he was in shape and said he felt he owed us.
“And on the basis of that,” he continued, “we’re looking at someone with international experience who at one time was a heck of a rebounder and could still shoot the ball. You know, being like a 12th man on a roster.
“Well, it didn’t work out. He wasn’t in shape. And he was way behind as it turned out,” he said of Love, who helped Team USA win gold during the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.
“So you move on. Call it a mistake. Call it giving someone an opportunity. Someone who had equity with us,” Colangelo said.
Earlier this month, Love withdrew from the Summer Games in Tokyo during Team USA’s training camp in Las Vegas. At the time, Love said in a statement that he felt he was not prepared to compete at an Olympic level. The longest tenured Cavalier also dealt with a calf injury that sidelined him for most of the season 2020-21 season.
The addition of Love to Team USA’s 12-man roster was met with mixed reviews. ESPN personality Jalen Rose, a columnist and podcast host for The Post, said he didn’t believe Love deserved a spot on the coveted list. Instead, Rose said Suns breakout star Deandre Ayton should’ve replaced Love.
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Team USA took on Spurs forward Keldon Johnson and Nuggets center JaVale McGee in replace of Love and Wizards guard Bradley Beal, who was sidelined after entering health and safety protocols for a COVID-19-related issue.
Between scouting replacements for sudden roster withdrawals, awaiting the arrival of players that were delayed due to the post season and virus restrictions, Team USA dealt with a new kind of adversity on the road to Tokyo.
Once the Kevin Durant-led squad began competing at the Summer Games, they weren’t performing up to the hype of past rosters, which cast a cloud of doubt over the team
The Americans suffered a shocking opening loss to France last weekend, but rebounded with a 54-point blowout win over Iran to put Team USA back in potential gold medal standing. This Saturday marks a pivotal game for Team USA against Czech Republic. A win would solofediy a fourth consecutive gold medal for the U.S.
Despite the doubters, Colangelo said he believes Durant, Damian Lillard, coach Gregg Popovich and the rest of Team USA can bring home the gold.
“If we don’t win, people will have their opportunity to take shots. I’m the one that 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 believe we’re going to win.”
Following the Tokyo Olympics, Colangelo is set to retire as managing director of the program after 16 years.