Lately, we’ve seen a trend of the NBA’s biggest stars withdraw from the 2016 Olympics in Rio.
James Harden who played on both the 2012 London Olympic Gold Medal team and the 2014 FIBA Gold Medal team announced his decision not to play as a “painstaking one that I did not take lightly.”The list of NBA stars withdrawing from the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro continues to grow after guards James Harden and Russell Westbrook announce they will not participate in this year’s Olympics.
“I have been extremely blessed to wear the ‘red, white, and blue’ and to compete at the highest international level with the greatest players representing the greatest country in the world. I sincerely hope I’ll earn an opportunity to represent Team USA again in the future.” (ESPN)
Russell Westbrook expressed very similar sentiments stating, “After speaking with my family, I have decided to not participate in this year’s Olympics. This was not an easy decision, as representing my country at the World Championships in 2010 and the Olympics in 2012 were career highlights for me. I look forward to future opportunities as a member of USA Basketball.” (LA Times)
Harden and Westbrook are just two more names to add to a growing list of NBA players who have declined their invitation to play in the 2016 Summer Olympics. Stephen Curry (knee), Chris Paul (hand), LaMarcus Aldridge (finger), Anthony Davis (knee, shoulder) and John Wall (knee) have all pulled of the Olympics. Blake Griffin underwent a bone marrow procedure on his left quad tendon on April 27th and is currently going through rehabilitation, will also be out for the Olympics.
USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo told ESPN’s Marc Stein that no players have withdrawn due to concerns of traveling to Brazil, and the Zika virus. Colangelo also said the reason players have removed themselves from consideration are injury-related; however, both Westbrook and Harden have had relatively healthy seasons. Russell Westbrook player 80 regular season games and 18 games in the post season. James Harden played all 82 games of the regular season and five post season games.
We can expect USA Basketball to announce the final 12-man roster later this month.