Porzingis said it will be his call. “It would be a dream come true for Latvia to make the Olympics,’’ Porzingis told The Post. “I have to make a decision. If I want to work on my game individually or play for the team. It’s different ways [of developing].’’
A time back at the 2004 Olympics in Athens gives a hint. When Team USA, led by coach Larry Brown, was fraying on and off the court en route to a disappointing bronze medal, Popovich argued that veterans who were playing unhappily and unproductively should have been benched in favor of some of the young talent. Namely James. It has been said that James has always appreciated Popovich’s gesture, even if it went unheeded.
Oladipo’s first choice, of course, is to be selected to play for USA Basketball – the heavy favorites to win a third straight gold medal – in the Summer Olympics. However, if Oladipo is bypassed by USA Basketball, he could opt to play for Nigeria because of his parents’ heritage with the African country.
“Playing in the Olympics is definitely a dream, but I’ll worry about it when the time comes. Right now, the focus is on winning games for the Orlando Magic,’’ Oladipo said on Tuesday. “At the end of the day, whatever (Olympic) opportunity appears on the table, it will be about making the right decision that’s best for me.’’
Oladipo is very proud of his Nigerian heritage and he said that his mother is very aware that her son could play for her native country. Nigeria, the 2015 Africas champion, still must qualify for the Olympics next summer. “My mom obviously knows because she pays attention to stuff like that, but she’s never mentioned anything to me about it,’’ Oladipo said with a chuckle. “I just go out there and play basketball. Whatever decision comes, I’ll make that decision when I need to.’’