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Despite the United States’ gold medal win, Kawhi Leonard said he harbors no regrets about skipping the Rio Olympics. Leonard said a “lot of things,” including the birth of his daughter, factored into his decision. “I caught a couple of quarters here and there (on TV),” he said. Leonard said he hopes to have another shot at the Olympics. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich replaced Mike Krzyzewski as the U.S. basketball coach after the 2016 Games.
Storyline: Olympic Games
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Tim MacMahon: Harrison Barnes on his limited Team USA role: “It was one of those situations where you have to sacrifice. Obviously when you make the Olympic team, you want to show what you can do on the world’s biggest stage. At the same time, winning gold took precedent. We didn’t want to be the team that either lost the win streak or didn’t come home with the gold. Those are the things that we as a team said we were going to put everything to the side and focus on that, and we came through.”
Storyline: Olympic Games
On Wednesday morning, the staff of Pacers Sports & Entertainment gathered on the main court at Bankers Life Fieldhouse to congratulate Pacers forward Paul George on winning a gold medal with USA Basketball at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. George, the first Pacers player to win an Olympic medal since Reggie Miller in 1996, arrived to thunderous applause from the large crowd of employees. With his gold medal draped around his neck, PG shook hands with Pacers President/COO Rick Fuson.
But what has been forgotten is the number of NBA players who passed on those Athens Games. Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal, Kevin Garnett, Tracy McGrady, Paul Pierce, and Jason Kidd all elected not to play, leaving Iverson on an island. “That was a very touchy situation for me because when everybody didn’t end up going, me and Tim Duncan went,” Iverson said. “We went to represent our country. That’s no shot at the guys that didn’t go. I totally understand why they didn’t. I totally understand and all of them remain my friends. I still have the utmost respect for all of those guys. But me and Tim went.”
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When Team USA rebuilt its Olympic squad for Beijing in 2008, Iverson was not invited. “As great as a season as I had, arguably one of the best seasons that I ever had, I wasn’t invited to go, that’s something that I wouldn’t say hurt me to this day, but the acknowledgment is there,” he said. “And the hurt will always exist because I felt that I truly should have been a part of the team. I should obviously be saying that I have a gold medal at 41 years old.”