ESPN analyst Jalen Rose recently had to walk back comments that Cleveland Cavaliers power forward Kevin Love had only made the United States’s Olympic basketball team because it needed a token white player.
“But you know why I’m apologizing right now? To the game. Because I’m what the game made me,” Rose said while apologizing for his comments. “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.”
The apology comes after major backlash when he said on a podcast last week that Love was only selected to play for Team USA because it didn’t want to send an “all-black” team to the Olympics, calling the decision “tokenism.”
“I’m excited about the roster, and I assume, and I know, we’re going to win the gold. But I’m disappointed in something. As I do this show every day, I do it in front of a picture of Tommie Smith and John Carlos raising their fist at the Olympics. I also know the favoritism that Christian Laettner was shown when he got a chance to be put on the Dream Team ahead of Shaq and Alonzo (Mourning). But they made it so a college player could even get on and gave him favoritism,” Rose said at the time.
Jerry Colangelo defended his selection of Love this week.
“The best reason to say why Kevin Love as an extra big was because of his international experience. Yes it’s true he hasn’t played much of anything the last couple of years, but the skills he brings to the table and commitment he’s made to physical conditioning, he’s a versatile guy up front who can rebound and hit shots. Who’s to say how many minutes a guy will play? You’re not playing all 12 players. It was a matter of filling out the roster with role players.”
Kevin Love won gold with Team USA in London in 2012, and at the 2010 FIBA World Championships in Turkey.
Love joins Bam Adebayo, Draymond Green, and Jerami Grant as the main interior players on Team USA’s roster.