This summer has been one of the most challenging for Jerry Colangelo, as the busy NBA season mixed with numerous injuries resulted in the managing director of the USA Team scrambling to assemble a roster capable of winning the gold medal in the Tokyo Olympics. In the end, they managed to collect a good group led by Kevin Durant, Damian Lillard, and a couple of great other players. But when the original 12-man roster was announced, one of the biggest surprises was Kevin Love.
Even though once upon a time he was a perennial All-Star and part of the gold 2012 Olympic team, age and injuries have caught up to Love, who hasn’t been the same player for a couple of years now. His inclusion would stir some controversy, as Jalen Rose got some attention with his statements about Love being the token white guy of the team, afraid to send an all-black team to the tournament. Rose would receive backlash for his comments, as Love was just trying to help his country and be a valuable big-men that can rebound and stretch the floor. Something the team needed heavily.
On the other side, Love saw this as an opportunity to get back into shape and rhythm for the following NBA season. But things really didn’t pan out that way, as Love only played in one exhibition game versus Nigeria that resulted in a shocking loss. After that, Love would withdraw from the team to continue rehabbing his injury. It was a weird turn of events, as Love didn’t look ready at all and out of sorts while being with the team. Jerry Colangelo recently spoke on that topic, explaining why Love got a roster spot only to then roast him for being out of shape, admitting he made a mistake inviting him:
“I didn’t think Kevin Love was going to play. I wasn’t even sure he had much left to play. He reached out to us and said he was in shape and said he felt he owed us. And on the basis of that, 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. So you move on. Call it a mistake. Call it giving someone an opportunity—someone who had equity with us.”Jerry Colangelo, via ESPN
Colangelo’s comments would sound off in the NBA world, as his words seemed really harsh and uncalled for. Sure, Kevin Love wasn’t in the best shape or ready to contribute, but he sacrificed his time and gave it a go in hopes of helping his country win the gold. Luckily, a couple of people got in Love’s defense, as his former teammate Richard Jefferson and NBA podcaster Bill Simmons decided to fire at Colangelo for his comments:
“Wow Jerry Colangelo! You should have used your burner account for that statement. This is what arrogance looks. How about protecting the people that decide to come to play for USA when so many people told y’all no YEAR AFTER YEAR. This should really help recruitment of vets!”Richard Jefferson, via Twitter
“Colangelo throwing Kevin Love under the bus for the sport of it. This article perfectly captures what a blowhard he is.”Bill Simmons, via Twitter
Colangelo has been on the hot seat after Team USA’s 2019 World Cup performance. These insensitive comments, mixed with the fact Team USA is struggling as we had never seen them before in this Olympic period, only added fuel to the fire, as Colangelo will have to be careful with his statements and hope Team USA manages to regroup, find their groove and win the gold medal. Because if it ends any other way, this could be the end of Jerry Colangelo on the top of USA basketball.