Land Of The Free: NBA Stars Declining To Play For Team USA May Be Due To Current WH Administration
On next month we will celebrate the 27th anniversary of the “Dream Team.” Comprised of 11 NBA Hall of Fame players such as Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Charles Barkley, etc. Some have labeled it the “Greatest Sports Team Ever Assembled.” Well that’s excluding the Golden State Warriors from 2016-19 when they added Kevin Durant, but I digress.
"Going in we did not think we were going to win every game by 60, 70 points. You just don't know that because those teams had NBA players also,” said Barkley in a 2010 interview with Chris Sheridan from ESPN. “But they could only put at most like five NBA players out there. And when we went to the bench, that's when we always went crazy because we brought in four more All-Stars while they brought in some kids, and there was a real drop-off in level of talent."
That team was designed to reclaim American dominance in basketball after the previous team of amateurs brought back a bronze medal in the 1988 Olympics in a loss to the Soviet Union. Most players from the Dream Team felt it was an honor to wear the letters, USA across their chest.
Funny how things can change in the blink of an eye. Team USA has taken a significant hit with NBA players such as James Harden, Anthony Davis, LeBron James, Kwahi Leonard, Stephen Curry, Russell Westbrook, Kyrie Irving, Damian Lillard, etc. have withdrawn from the 2019 FIBA World Cup that starts on August 31st and runs through September 15th. Most players are stating that they want to focus more on the upcoming season since free agency has left the door wide open for more than just the aforementioned Golden State Warriors to win the 2020 Finals.
Some players have also decided to take a “Load Management” summer vacation away from basketball so that they can be fresh when the season starts. While all of that may be true and I will not dispute what most of the players are saying, something has always seemed just a little bit off to me when it came to this situation. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it as to why all the superstars were passing up a chance to represent the country until I received a phone call today.
A source who is very close to a couple of the players who have withdrawn says that the current administration in the White House has something to do with lack of willingness to represent the country.
“The players watch television and see where we are as a nation right now,” said my source who wanted to remain anonymous. “Some say that they would rather avoid being scrutinized over where our country stands right now and would hope that by the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo our country will be moving in a better direction.”
Big Sarge Sportz can neither confirm nor deny these statements, but if accurate, it would explain why players that some consider in the second tier of the NBA ranks would decline the invitation. Kevin Love, Tobias Harris, Eric Gordon, and Draymond Green have withdrawn their names from consideration as well. It can definitely make one speculate especially when you have had players such as LeBron James and Steph Curry make statements about the current administration.
Last July, James sat down with CNN host Don Lemon after his ribbon cutting ceremony of the I PROMISE School in Akron, Ohio to discuss his tweet where he called the president a “Bum” and what he would say to him if he was ever sat across from him in a room. James’s response to Lemon was stern and straight to the point.
“I would never sit across from him.”
The Lakers superstar also took to Twitter to discuss his disdain for the President in August 2017 in the wake of the vicious and deadly violence that left one-woman dead during protest in Charlottesville, Virginia.
It will be interesting to see what happens with the state of USA Basketball going forward, especially if President Trump gets re-elected in November of 2020. But for now, just sit back and be amazed by the likes of Kemba Walker, Donovan Mitchell, Khris Middleton, Jayson Tatum, Julius Randle, Kyle Kuzma, Harrison Barnes, Jaylen Brown, Harrison Barnes, P.J. Tucker, Brook Lopez, Andre Drummond, Myles Turner, and Paul Millsap.
Oh, and I would be doing you a disservice if I didn’t mention that Jared Dudley has said he is ready to serve his country. Ok. That was a joke, but at this rate the team could use an extra body and five hard fouls.