Former NBA player-turned-ESPN analyst has an issue with Kevin Love’s selection to Team USA.
CLEVELAND — Editor’s note: the video in the player above is from a previous story.
Jalen Rose is confident that the United States will bring home a gold medal in men’s basketball this summer. But when it comes to Team USA’s selection of Kevin Love to play in the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan, the former NBA guard-turned-ESPN analyst is less than thrilled.
RELATED: More Cleveland Cavaliers coverage from WKYC
Appearing on his TV show and podcast, “Jalen and Jacoby” on Thursday, Rose expressed disappointment in Team USA’s selection of Love, going as far as to say that the five-time All-Star was only selected to Team USA because he is white.
“I’m excited about the roster and I assume and I know that we’re going to win the gold,” Rose said. “But I’m disappointed in something. As I do this show every day, I do it in front of a picture of Tommy Smith and John Carlos raising their fists at the Olympics. I also know the favoritism that Christian Laettner was shown when he got a chance to be put on the Dream Team ahead of [Shaquille O’Neal] and Alonzo [Mourning] but they made it so that a college player could even get on and showed him favoritism.
“But this level of — and I’ve got a word for it — 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. Anybody that watched the league this year knows that 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.”
While Rose is correct that Love is coming off an injury-plagued season in which he appeared in just 25 of the Cavs’ 72 games and posted his lowest scoring and rebounding averages since his rookie season, it’s worth noting that the 32-year-old’s game is an ideal fit for international play. A 6-foot-8 forward/center with three-point range, Love possesses the ability to provide spacing to Team USA’s offense in a way that no other big man on its roster currently can.
What’s more is that Love possesses a strong track record in international play, serving as Team USA’s leading rebounder during its run to the gold medal in the 2012 Summer Olympics. None of that, however, appears to mean much to Rose, who said he thinks that Phoenix Suns center DeAndre Ayton should have made the team over Love.