Miami Heat‘s sharpshooter Duncan Robinson couldn’t help but be excited when Team USA called him to possibly be the replacement for Bradley Beal, who was forced to skip the 2020 Tokyo Olympics after being placed in healthy and safety protocols.
Robinson said on this week’s episode of his The Long Shot podcast that Team USA officials told him that he was being considered but “they were going to reach out to other guys first.”
However, “the other guys that they were going to reach out to were guys that already had the option to be on Team USA,” Robinson continued. “So I felt pretty confident that they weren’t going to then turn around and say yes after already saying no.”
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“It basically got to the point where like it started to pick up some momentum and it looked like it was going to happen… It quickly became clear that if I have the option to [play in the Olympics] then I’m going to do it,” Robinson continued. “All of a sudden everybody was reaching out to me. ‘Let me know when you know. I want to know when you know. This is so big. Oh my gosh, you might be Olympian.’”
Robinson’s Decision to Join Team USA was Complicated by Free Agency & His Best Friend’s Wedding
Robinson, who becomes a restricted free agent expected to net contract offer in the $15 to $20 million range this summer, needed to weigh if going to Tokyo was the best career move for him.
The 27-year-old forward said figuring out whether or not he’d accept the invitation was an “emotional roller coaster.” Robinson also took into consideration that if he left for the Olympic games, he’d be forced to miss co-host and best friend Davis Reid’s wedding.
At the end of the day, however, Robinson told Reid that if he was formally asked to join Team USA, there’s no way he could say no:
Obviously, it’s incredible to go and play for your country. It would have been an opportunity that I would have jumped at. But at the same time, I was going to be missing your wedding and it’s also right on the cusp of free agency and some other things. So it was a decision I at least needed to think about. So I called a bunch of people in my close circle, my family and my friends. I was kind of weighing some opinions of what people thought.
Team USA Instead Selected San Antonio Spurs Forward Keldon Johnson
Around the same time that Beal was removed from Team USA, Kevin Love also backed out due to an aggravated injury. While Beal was replaced by San Antonio Spurs forward Keldon Johnson, Denver Nuggets center JaVale McGee stepped in for Love.
“The reports were somewhat true with everything that happened last week with Brad, Robinson explained. “I actually had nothing to do with Kevin Love’s spot. That was going to be filled by a big. But when Brad was kind of removed from the Olympics and it was clear that he was not going to go, they were obviously looking for a filler.”
Despite the last-minute snub, Robinson is at peace with Team USA’s decision. “In my mind, it was like a win-win. Now I get to go to one of my best friends’ wedding, be in the wedding, get to watch your special day, be a part of it.”
Robinson can also focus on free agency. “I get to really lock in for the end of this month leading into free agency, work on my body, work on my game, and all those sorts of things. So I was good. I was at peace with it.”