Report: USA Basketball Saving Spot For George On 2016 Olympic Team

Despite last week’s horrific injury that will force him to miss the 2014-2015 season, it won’t be long before we see Paul George back in a Team USA uniform. Chairmain Jerry Colangelo said yesterday that USA Basketball is saving a spot for George on the 2016 Olympic team regardless of his play once he returns to the court.

The news is courtesy of’s Scott Howard-Cooper.

“We’ve told him we have a spot for him in ’16,” Colangelo told at festivities Thursday in advance of the Friday enshrinement of the Hall of Fame class.

Without seeing how he comes back?

“Right,” said Colangelo, also the Hall chairman. “That’s what we told him.

“We thought it’s the right thing to do,” Colangelo said. “That’s it…. We didn’t give thought to all the detail. Just that when a guy goes down and all these things, the circumstances, his career passes before him, he’s out for a year, a year-plus, he’s not able to participate now with us — we wanted to throw that out and say, ‘We’re counting on you. You’ve got a spot in ’16.’”

This incredible show of support from Colangelo, coach Mike Krzyzewski, and the entire national program is just the latest of widespread encouragement to George from the basketball world since his injury. George’s NBA peers were united in expressing heartbreak at his situation and faith in his return, while Nike released a motivational new ad that predicted his “best is next.” The public reaction to George’s injury has been just as heartwarming.

From an inspirational perspective, though, it’s hard to trump this gesture from USAB. Colangelo’s choice to preemptively include George on the Rio De Janeiro squad is as much about honoring George as it is his chance to make a full basketball recovery from his unfortunate break. But the fact that George is expected to regain the athleticism that makes him such a force once fully rehabilitated also means that Team USA expects him to be better than ever two years from now.

George doesn’t need any additional motivation – he has plenty within. But the knowledge that USA Basketball is still “counting on him” with a guaranteed spot on its 2016 Olympic team will surely serve as extra impetus when George faces the inevitable minor setbacks on his long road to recovery.

Kudos to Colangelo and company for doing the right thing.

What do you think of USAB’s choice?

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