The 2021 Tokyo Olympics are right around the corner, as one of the most anticipated events as always will be the basketball tournament. Even though there is a handful of great teams and players, there is no bigger deal than the USA Team full of NBA stars uniting to display some of the most outstanding team basketball ever seen. Almost every Olympic run for the Americans has resulted in gold, won with flair, playing fantastic basketball.
This year the expectations are no different, even though some of the biggest stars like LeBron James, Stephen Curry, Kawhi Leonard, and more won't be going. But still, Gregg Popovich has managed to round up a really good team, with some huge names committing to bringing the gold once again. So here are the 12 names planned to represent Team USA in the 2021 Olympics:
- Kevin Durant
- Damian Lillard
- Bradley Beal
- Jayson Tatum
- Devin Booker
- Zach LaVine
- Draymond Green
- Jrue Holiday
- Khris Middleton
- Bam Adebayo
- Jerami Grant
- Kevin Love
The likes of Durant and Lillard will lead this group filled with some young stars and savvy veterans in order to prove the USA is still the dominant force of international basketball. Considering all the names that dropped out of contention, the team assembled is pretty good, but still, there are a few surprises—one of the most notable ones, Kevin Love.
Even though Love was a perennial All-Star for some time and a member of the 2012 Olympic roster, his game fell off drastically after LeBron left for LA. As a result, the Cavaliers have been at the bottom of the rankings, and Love has struggled to stay on the court, playing only 25 games last season and averaging 12.2 ppg and 7.4 rpg. Some of the lowest numbers of his career.
So the fact Love made the USA roster ruffled some feathers, as ESPN analyst and former player Jalen Rose expressed his anger with that decision and explained why:
"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."
Jalen Rose, via Jalen & Jacoby
Once again, the narrative of race and discrimination is being forced from the media, and most of the people have had enough, as Jalen Rose received backlash for his comments. His statements are flawed and incorrect. Firstly the 2016 USA Team had 12 black players playing. Secondly, numerous players have declined to play, and a veteran, established guy like Love has committed to help and play for his country, only to get criticized and labeled as a "token" player. Love has stated that playing will be of help for his career and comeback, while the USA in need of quality big men will definitely use Love in a big way. It's nice to see people didn't blindly agree with Rose but instead fired back at him for forcing an unnecessary narrative.
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