Olympics Rumors

Mark Cuban on if the Olympics is about patriotism or money: “There’s no such thing in my mind as false patriotism. When you put on the jersey, you’re doing it for the right reason. Everyone really knows what this is about because if it truly was patriotism, we would give a hard time to every player who refused to play. Why wouldn’t you? We give them a pass because we understand that they have to protect their future. There’s so many other places where we don’t give anybody a pass if you put the United States second. But everyone in the heart knows this is truly about economics, not truly about playing for your country. And if we give people a pass, not just in basketball but other sports as well, if we say, ‘Put your financial future ahead of playing in this tournament,’ we’re okay with that. Then it is about economics. There’s no if’s, and’s or but’s about it. The biggest trick the IOC ever played was making us believe the Olympics was about patriotism.”
“I was very unhappy back in 2004 when the USA finished third at the Olympics, not so much for finishing third but how they looked, how they acted,” Colangelo said. “To me, there is a way to conduct yourself both on and off the floor. “So that all had to change. “I’m proud to be an American, I’m proud to represent the USA on the international stage, I love the game. I have a passion for the game. So for me, it’s giving back to the game that I love so much.”
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Beyond the long-running legacy of Tim Duncan, Gregg Popovich will be attached to perhaps the most successful and accommodating system in NBA history for international talent. The San Antonio Spurs coach reminisced about his first international experience during last week’s visit to Boston. “My first year in the league was in ’88 with coach (Larry) Brown, and I didn’t know jack, but I knew I wanted to go overseas, so I begged him to let me go over for the ’88 European Championships in Koln, Germany,” Popovich said. “The only other NBA guy in the room was (Don Nelson). There was nobody else in there. That’s when he was bringing Sarunas Marciulionis back (from Lithuania). “I was like a kid in a candy store looking around,” he said. “That’s when Yugoslavia was Yugoslavia and they had that team. It was ridiculous. The Russians were really good when they were the Soviet Union; players everywhere. I knew early on it was a market we wanted to tap. That’s why we did (Tony) Parker at (pick No.) 28, and Manu (Ginobili) in the 50s, and (Luis) Scola after him.
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LeBron James took one step closer to Olympic history Thursday when he was named to the USA Basketball men’s national team roster again for the next three summers. James and Carmelo Anthony could become the first USA men’s basketball players to play in four Olympics if they compete in the 2016 Games. But that is not yet a sure thing, despite his inclusion on the roster. “I don’t know where I stand for 2016,” James told reporters in Miami on Thursday. “If I can give to our country by playing, then that would be great to be playing.”
With a taste for the unconventional, he now has his eyes fixed on an alternative summer job. In 2012, his British passport arrived in the mail, sparking a frenetic but ultimately fruitless courtship to recruit him for Great Britain’s Olympic squad. He was in, then out. Confusion reigned when he was taking part in a training game in Charlotte on the same day his no-show for London was announced. There was no misdirection, Mullens affirms. “I had a toe injury in April that year. It really messed everything up about the Olympics. It sucked not going there. But it was better for me. My son was born in August so there was no chance of me missing that.”
Team USA head coach Mike Krzyzewski has been a fan of Chicago Bulls star point guard Derrick Rose for a long time, so it should come as no surprise that the Hall of Fame coach is excited to see the former MVP back on the floor and hopeful that he will represent his country in the near future — including the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. When asked specifically if he would like to see Rose on the Olympic team, Krzyzewski said he was excited about the possibility, assuming the point guard’s surgically repaired left knee holds up throughout this NBA season. Rose is just returning to the floor after missing almost a year and a half as he recovered from an ACL tear in his left knee. “Oh yeah,” Krzyzewski told ESPNChicago.com on Tuesday night. “There’s a process that [USA Basketball chairman] Jerry Colangelo will orchestrate all that. But it’s not just 2016, we have to play in Spain next summer. It used to be the world championships and now it will be called the World Cup. And Derrick was our starting point guard when we won the world championships in Istanbul in 2010 and did a really good job. He was only 21 years old at that time and probably would have been on our Olympic team in London.”
“I text him a little bit,” Krzyzweski said. “He just celebrated his 25th birthday. I texted him then and I was glad to hear that he wants to be a part of (the team). Hopefully this year, injury-wise, coming back from that (knee) injury he’ll get even stronger. And I think it will be good — I want him to be on the (team), to be in the pool of players, and hopefully be on both teams, but I also want to give him the opportunity to see how the year goes for him because there’s nothing more important than making sure his career is going in a very positive way and we’re always cognizant of that with the USA basketball program.”
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Pau Gasol remains an avid traveler and a highly-cultured person, ranging from reading historical novels, making trips to countries in need as a UNICEF ambassador and attending operas. But Gasol’s latest excursion serves a different person. He landed Wednesday in Buenos Aires, Argentina where he will represent Madrid’s 2020 Olympic bid committee in hopes that his native Spain can host those Summer Games.
The request to increase the number of teams was viewed as a compromise with those pushing for a 23-and-under age restriction for the men’s competition. While there is no age limit for the 2016 Olympics, it will be a possibility for the 2020 Games, especially as FIBA tries to capitalize on the 2019 World Cup. In international basketball, the World Cup, formerly world championships, is more prestigious than the Olympics.
Bosh, who was also part of the Olympic gold medal-winning United States team in 2008 at Beijing, said he doesn’t want to represent his country in the Games again, as he wanted to spend time with his family. “I don’t think so. I have kids and a family. Our summers are short. We work so hard during season that I want to give them some time in summer. Plus I want other guys to experience it, because it is such a great game. I want other guys to enjoy it and have great stories, just have a good time playing international basketball because it is a great thing,” he said.
Griffin said he wants to play for the U.S. in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Griffin, who will be 24 on March 16, was unable to play on the gold medal-winning 2012 team in London because he suffered a left knee injury during a U.S. team practice that required surgery. “Yeah, absolutely, it’s something that I want to do,” Griffin said. “Obviously it’s a great honor. I was really looking forward to playing last year. It was very disappointing not being able to be there. I kind of turned my sights to getting back healthy. So my next goal for that is 2016.”
It is believed in some Team USA circles that Deron Williams has played himself out of contention for the 2016 team, while Dwight Howard is viewed as a 50-50 proposition for Rio. But come to think of it, if Colangelo wants Howard in the mix, it’s hard to think of a coach more capable of handling the drama that comes along with him than Rivers. It’s just one of many factors that would make him ideal for the job.