A former member of the Golden State Warriors has been named to the United States Men’s Olympic Basketball Team. The news of this particular selection, however, was not met with much fanfare, as it came to the great dismay of some who follow the squad closely.
JaVale McGee, a two-time NBA Champion with the Warriors and a current member of the Denver Nuggets, was elevated by Team USA on Friday, July 16, 2021, to fill an open spot on the roster left vacant by Kevin Love. Shams Charania, of The Athletic, broke the news on Twitter.
Joining Team USA along with McGee will be Keldon Johnson, a lesser-known NBA player who is a member of the San Antonio Spurs. The Spurs are coached by Gregg Popovich, who is also at the helm of America’s Olympic team this summer in Japan.
Johnson will replace Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal, who was diagnosed with COVID-19 and has entered virus protocol, taking him out of the lineup for the duration of the Olympic Games.
Prominent NBA Analyst Shocked by Addition of McGee, Johnson to Team USA
NBA insiders and fans expressed dismay at the selections of McGee and Johnson to Team USA Friday. One of the most prominent critics was Bill Simmons, founder of The Ringer.
“WHAT IS HAPPENING??????” Simmons tweeted Friday morning in response to Charania’s breaking news.
Just two hours prior, Simmons, who has been highly critical of the construction of Team USA’s roster, framed the openings as a way for NBA superstar LeBron James to step in and save the floundering Olympic squad, which lost two consecutive exhibition games to Nigeria and Australia before rebounding against Argentina.
“Team USA in shambles, 3 spots open, a gold medal hanging in the balance,” Simmons tweeted. “Could this be a better set-up for one of the greatest players ever to come save the day during the same weekend that his new movie came out?”
Instead, the leaders of Team USA conjured McGee, a former teammate of James with the Los Angeles Lakers.
No Love For Team USA or McGee
Love spent more than a week working out and playing exhibition games with Team USA in Las Vegas before announcing his decision to resign from the roster.
Critics like Simmons had questioned why Love was selected for the Olympics in the first place, as he has struggled with injuries and fallen from prominence in recent years while stuck in the NBA purgatory that is the Cleveland Cavaliers franchise sans James.
Love said Friday that he aggravated an existing injury to his right calf, which is why he will not be traveling with the team to Japan.
“I am incredibly disappointed to not be heading to Tokyo with Team USA,” Love said in a prepared statement. “But you need to be at absolute peak performance to compete at the Olympic level, and I am just not there yet.”
McGee was a finalist for Team USA during tryouts, but has no previous Olympic experience. He is expected to land in Las Vegas and join his teammates on Saturday.