ESPN basketball analyst Jalen Rose caught a ton of backlash for recent comments he made about USA Basketball naming Kevin Love to its roster for next month’s Tokyo Olympics. Rose said the move was basically white “tokenism” by the national governing body, saying they are “scared to make an all-Black” squad for the Olympics.
“Kevin Love is on the team because of tokenism,” Rose said. “Don’t be scared to make an all-Black team representing the United States of America. I’m disappointed by that.”
This week, he took to Instagram and said he “felt like I disrespected the game” when he said Kevin Love reportedly making USA Basketball’s Olympic roster was a form of “tokenism” but still doesn’t believe the Cleveland Cavaliers star deserved to make the team.
Despite apolgizing, he also asserted he was “entitled” to his opinion and the criticism over his remarks was akin to character assassination.
“If I feel like Kevin Love should make the team or not, I’m entitled to my opinion,” Rose said. “You don’t have to like my opinion, you don’t have to like me. There’s a lot of people trying to assassinate my character or whatever, but those people, some of them, have been doing to for like 30 years … that’s how it is when you have the nerve in a lot of peoples’ estimation to be outspoken.”
“But you know why I’m apologizing right now? To the game. Because I’m what the game made me,” he said. “I was raised by the all-time greats and you know what I would never want to do? Disappoint [Rose’s late mother] Jeanie Rose or disappoint the all-time greats that raised me.”
He still said Love shouldn’t have made the team.
“Not that I believe that you deserve to make the team,” he said of Love. “I’m pretty sure when you got the call too you were like ‘Word?! I’m on the squad.’ I know how this works ya’ll. He looked down at his phone and was like, ‘Yo, they want me? They’re gonna ignore these Cleveland Cav lost tape years?’”
Love averaged 12.2 points and 7.4 rebounds in just 25 games played last season.
He added: “If I felt like the reasoning is because we didn’t necessarily want to send an all-Black squad … it don’t mean that I don’t know we hadn’t sent one in the past.”
“But like Katt Williams said, ‘Sometimes playas mess up,’ so I apologize to the game. That’s who I apologize to.”