It kind of got lost amid Team USA’s gold medal winning performance during the Tokyo Olympics, but at one point, USA Basketball boss Jerry Colangelo decided to go after Kevin Love, who was part of the team in training camp but pulled out before the side went to Japan. Love made clear that he didn’t think he would be able to contribute as he was working his way back from a calf injury, and in response, Colangelo did not seem particularly pleased.
“I didn’t think Kevin Love was going to play. I wasn’t even sure he had much left to play,” Colangelo said. “He reached out to us and said he was in shape and said he felt he owed us. And on the basis of that, we’re looking at someone with international experience who at one time was a heck of a rebounder and could still shoot the ball. You know, being like a 12th man on a roster.
“Well, it didn’t work out,” Colangelo continued. “He wasn’t in shape. And he was way behind as it turned out. So you move on. Call it a mistake. Call it giving someone an opportunity. Someone who had equity with us.”
It was surprising, in large part because the absolute most charitable read on this was that Colangelo thought it was appropriate to say these sorts of things about the last player who would have made the roster. As Love explained on HBO’s The Shop, he wasn’t particularly enthused with this, going as far as to offer up a big “f*ck him” to the longtime basketball executive.
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“You weren’t the only one,” Love said after Maverick Carter used the words “f*cked up” to describe Colangelo’s comments. “[LeBron James] called me, same thing, and was like, ‘Yeah, f*ck that, that’s something that should never be said, regardless of what was said on either side and all of that, you just never do that.’”
Love went onto say that this was an example of Colangelo saying something to try and protect his legacy, theorizing that because things were looking rocky in the lead-up to the Olympics and during the team’s opening game, “He wanted something to point the finger at if they lost.”
“It was just wrong in so many ways,” Love said. “And for me, I’m sitting up here being the nice guy right now, but honestly, f*ck that.”