The Tokyo Olympics are right around the corner and the USA Men’s basketball team, led by NBA superstar Kevin Durant, are highly favored to win a fourth consecutive Olympic gold medal when they take the court next month.
Team USA, which includes fellow NBA stars Damian Lillard, Jayson Tatum, Bradley Beal, and Devin Booker, also includes Kevin Love, who is white.
ESPN Analyst Jalen Rose took exception to Love’s inclusion on the roster, referring to the NBA player as a token, according to a Fox News report.
Rose, who is a former NBA player, referred to the so-called favoritism shown to former college player Christian Laettner, who was added to the 1992 Team USA Olympic squad ahead of Shaquille O’Neal and Alonso Mourning who had better college seasons.
— Jalen & Jacoby (@JalenandJacoby) June 24, 2021
“… 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,” Rose said. “Anybody that watched the league this year knows Kevin Love did not have a stellar season, was not the best player on his team, and did not necessarily deserve to be on this squad.”
Love appeared in 25 games for the Cleveland Cavaliers during the 2020-21 season. He finished in the top five on the team in scoring with 12.2 points per game and was third in rebounds with 7.4 boards per game.
According to an MSN report, Love was likely chosen for the 2021 Olympic squad because he has Olympic experiences and is still considered a pretty accurate shooter, despite a sub-par season.
“..I’m disappointed in Team USA for not having the courage to send an all-Black team to the Olympics,” Rose reiterated.
The ESPN commentator suggested that the Phoenix Suns Deandre Ayton deserved to have Love’s spot on Team USA. However, according to the Arizona Republic, Ayton was born in the Bahamas and wouldn’t be eligible to suit up for Team USA, unless, of course, he becomes an American citizen.
In 2016, Ayton represented the Bahamas in international competitions and was on the team during the Centrobasket tournament.
As a member of the Suns, Ayton is averaging 14.4 points and 10.5 rebounds per game this season while shooting 62.6 percent from the field, which is 25.3 percent above Love’s mark.
Rose’s inflammatory and racist comments drew criticism on Twitter from fans who correctly asserted that the 2016 USA team was all black, destroying Rose’s outrageous claim.
Wasn’t the 2016 USA team an all black team? Don’t know if it’s accurate to say the USA is “scared” to put an all black team in the Olympics.
— John Rutledge (@John_Rob_Rut) June 24, 2021
Four of the last five Team USA basketball squads have been all-black, with the 2012 team being the lone exception, which is among the teams that have won Olympic gold.
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