The buildup to Tokyo 2021 has seen many NBA superstars commit to the National Team program. Kevin Durant and Damian Lillard are two superstars engaged to Team USA for the Olympics earlier this month.
Young rising stars like Jayson Tatum, Devin Booker, Zach LaVine, and Bam Adebayo have also been finalized. Khris Middleton, Jrue Holiday, Kevin Love, Bradley Beal, and Draymond Green are there for the veteran presence as much as their unique skillsets. And former DeMatha High School star and current Pistons player Jermaine Grant round out the 12-man roster.
Eleven of these players have had All-Star, All-NBA caliber years. They are on the roster based on their performances over the last year. You cannot reasonably make the same case for Kevin Love based on his season with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Former NBA player and current ESPN personality Jalen Rose says Love should be replaced by rising Suns player DeAndre Ayton who has helped lead his team to the cusp of the NBA Finals.
The fact that Love was chosen has irked the very opinionated Rose. He even said Gregg Popovich and his assistants only chose Love because of what he calls “tokenism.”
“Kevin Love is on the team because of “white 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.
He was not the best player on his team and did not necessarily deserve to be on this team.”
“I’m not gonna take him off this squad and not put someone else on it in his place. I’m gonna tell Tony whose spot that should be. That should be a young man who was born in the Bahamas, that was a McDonald’s All-American and also played his high school and college basketball in Phoenix, Arizona. That’s where the team convened and train before heading out for the Olympic Games.”
DeAndre Ayton should have Kevin Love’s spot. And I’m disappointed in Team USA and its decision-makers for not having the courage to send an all-Black team to the Olympics.”
Even though it doesn’t seem like the 32-year old Love will play a significant role on the court, and he’s there for the experience, having been a part of the 2012 Gold Medal winning squad, I get where Jalen is coming from and couldn’t agree more.
That was an opportunity for Team USA to be bold in some of the most trying times as it pertains to racism, social injustice, and prejudice, and again they and the NBA once again dropped the proverbial ball.