A Reporter At The Olympics Asked JaVale McGee If His Mom Is Still Alive

JaVale McGee was one of the late additions to the USA Basketball men’s roster, replacing Kevin Love who withdrew from the team due to his lingering calf injury.

McGee was added to bring some needed size to the Team USA roster after they saw how that had been exploited by teams in their early exhibition matchups. The veteran center likely won’t play significant minutes in most games, but against teams that rely heavily on inside scoring production, he figures to be a helpful presence.

On Saturday, McGee had his first USA Basketball media availability after the Opening Ceremonies and he was greeted with one of the worst questions you will ever hear in a press conference, as he was asked if his mom was still alive to his understandable confusion.

“That’s a weird question to ask somebody,” is the appropriate response to that line of questioning from The Athletic’s Joe Vardon (who you may remember as the one Gregg Popovich got into it with after an exhibition loss), and hours later he was still taken aback by it all.

JaVale’s sister, Imani McGee-Stafford who plays professional ball in Australia, had a rather hilarious response on Twitter as well.

It is really an absurd question to ask someone, particularly considering McGee’s mother, Pamela (who is a legendary figure in the women’s game, a Hall of Famer, and won a gold medal at the 1984 Olympics, which has to be where this reporter is going with a story) has a large Twitter following and tweeted this yesterday before this question was asked.

I understand wanting to make sure that, if you’re going to be writing the mother-son connection story about the Olympics, you double check something like this, but there are a number of ways to do that before you get on a Zoom scrum on the night of the Opening Ceremonies and ask them point blank if their mom is still alive. In this case, you can just check her Twitter page, but even if that wasn’t an option, there are plenty of other ways to research this without firing off this question that will lead that player to likely never wanting to talk to you again.