There are no surprises — did you think Kobe Bryant or LeBron James were going to be left off the team? — but now we know nine of the 12 players who will represent the United States in the London Olympic basketball tournament.
USA Basketball president Jerry Colangelo laid it out for Chris Tomasson of Fox Sports Florida.
In a phone interview with FOX Sports Florida, Colangelo said 2008 Olympic holdovers LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul and Deron Williams are assured of being on the team in London along with 2010 World Championship holdovers Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Kevin Love and Tyson Chandler.
Again, no surprises there. And Colangelo said there would be no additions to the team at this point.
So there are six players left — Blake Griffin, Andre Iguodala, Rudy Gay, James Harden, Eric Gordon and Anthony Davis — fighting for three spots. While Colangelo wouldn’t rule out Davis, the fact he sprained his ankle might cost him any real chance.
Because Team USA could use more height along the front line, one of those three places almost certainly will be Griffin’s. My guess is that Harden or Gordon will get a spot as a backup two, and Iguodala or Gay will get the other spot, but coach Mike Krzyzewski has options.
The entire team will be announced in a television special on NBA TV Saturday at 7 p.m. Eastern (after just a couple days of practice). From there Team USA will keep practicing, readying for a game against the Dominican Republic — which is in Venezuela right now trying to qualify for the Games through FIBA’s second chance qualifier matching teams that just missed out in their regions — on Thursday, July 12.
NEW YORK (AP) — Craig Sager’s fight with leukemia will prevent the basketball sideline reporter form covering the Rio Olympics for NBC.
NBC said Thursday in a statement that the 65-year-old Sager is preparing for a third bone marrow transplant at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Sager was first diagnosed with leukemia in 2014 and announced in March that he was no longer in remission.
The Rio Games would have been Sager’s fifth Olympics.
Sager has worked for Turner Sports for 34 years. At the ESPY Awards this month, Vice President Joe Biden presented Sager with the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance.
With so much focus in recent weeks being on NBA players speaking out on social issues, it’s worth remembering that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has been one of the most vocal athletes in America on these things for decades. The Hall of Fame and all-time leading scorer in NBA history addressed the Democratic National Convention on Thursday evening, urging voters to vote for Hillary Clinton in November, and opened his remarks by introducing himself as Michael Jordan, because “Donald Trump couldn’t tell the difference.”
You can watch the video of his speech below:
In the weeks since Kevin Durant announced he was signing with the Golden State Warriors, we have yet to hear Russell Westbrook speak on his former teammate’s decision. This week, ESPN.com’s Royce Young indicated in a podcast interview that Durant was telling Westbrook and others in the days leading up to his decision that he was coming back to Oklahoma City. He later walked back his report, saying he misspoke. On Thursday, Durant himself told The Vertical‘s Shams Charania that he never said any such thing, or misled Westbrook or anyone else about his intentions.
“It’s false,” Durant told The Vertical on Thursday. “I didn’t say that – words about me telling Russell or Nick that I would stay or leave never came out of my mouth. We met as teammates, but no promises came out of it. In this day and age, I can’t control anything people claim out there. Someone can go out and say something random right now, and people will believe it.
“I never told Russell or Nick [Collison], ‘All right, guys, I’m coming back to the Thunder’ – and then a week later, I decide not to. Never happened. I don’t operate like that. I heard people say that story, but it’s not the truth.”
So that settles that.