You’re a team Jordan guy. Dwyane Wade made a comment that NBA players in general but specifically LeBron James can’t pass Michael Jordan, they can only tie him. How do you feel about that? Do you think there’s some truth to the idea that no player will be able to surpass him because of the aura that Michael Jordan has? Carmelo Anthony: Yeah, I think the way that he has transcended the game. The game was looking for an identity, and he came in with the swag, with the short shorts, the long socks, and the chain—he brought something different to the game of basketball. Globally. Now the game is already global. We’re just taking advantage of what was already created, from a global standpoint. And we’re enhancing it, but he set that stage. I mean, nobody knew about NBA players like that before ‘92. They wasn’t watching NBA games over there. So when they saw that Dream Team in ‘92, a new era had started. It was a new vibe, a new aura, a new respect for basketball.
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
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.”