LeBron James chose not to play in the Tokyo Olympics, creating a huge challenge for Team USA managing director Jerry Colangelo since the Los Angeles Lakers superstar is one of the best basketball players in the world. The Americans are trying to win their fourth consecutive gold medal at the Olympics, and it will certainly be difficult without LeBron despite Kevin Durant leading this year’s squad.
Olympic experience matters, which is why Colangelo made sure Durant and Draymond Green played in the Tokyo games. Besides KD and Green, no other player on Team USA has Olympic experience. One of the main reasons pundits believe the National Team may not win the gold medal is that other teams are filled with guys who have a plethora of Olympic experience.
Colangelo invited one of LeBron’s former teammates on the Cleveland Cavaliers to play in the Tokyo Olympics during training camp in Las Vegas. However, after the one-time NBA champion played poorly in two exhibition games and withdrew, Colangelo wasn’t afraid to destroy LeBron’s ex-teammate.
LeBron James’ former teammate, Kevin Love, got destroyed by Jerry Colangelo
Love was a member of the 2012 Olympic Team that finished 8-0 and won the gold medal. He played in all eight games and averaged 11.6 points and 7.6 rebounds while shooting 63.0% from the field. LeBron was on the team as well, and he put up 13.3 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 5.6 assists per game.
Since LeBron left the Cavs in the summer of 2018 to sign with the Lakers, Love has been a disaster in Cleveland. He’s played in only 103 games and done several questionable things on the court and behind the scenes. The five-time All-Star was controversially invited to a spot on the Tokyo roster, but he withdrew due to his ongoing calf recovery, and Colangelo wasn’t afraid to bash him.
“I didn’t think Kevin Love was going to play,” Colangelo said. “I wasn’t even sure he had much left to play. He reached out to us and said he was in shape and said he felt he owed us. And on the basis of that, we’re looking at someone with international experience which at one time was a heck of a rebounder and could still shoot the ball. You know, being like a 12th man on a roster. Well, it didn’t work out. He wasn’t in shape. And he was way behind as it turned out. So you move on. Call it a mistake. Call it giving someone an opportunity. Someone who had equity with us.”
After Colangelo’s quote went viral, Love took to social media to shout out LeBron and also subtly responded to Colangelo.
Kevin Love tagged LeBron James on Twitter and had NSFW response to Jerry Colangelo
Love not only tagged LeBron, JR Smith, Channing Frye, Tristan Thompson, and Richard Jefferson on Twitter with a caption, “Love my brothers,” but he also posted an NSFW statement on his Instagram story that said, “Say f— them but forgive them.”
Jefferson, who won the 2016 championship with LeBron and Love in Cleveland, took offense to what Colangelo said about K-Love and went on social media to talk about it.
“Wow Jerry Colangelo! You should have used your burner account for that statement,” Jefferson wrote. “This is what arrogance looks. How about protecting the people that decide to come to play for USA when so many people told y’all no YEAR AFTER YEAR. This should really help recruitment of vets!!!”
It’s safe to assume that Love won’t play for Team USA again. As for LeBron, he may be in the same boat.
LBJ’s Olympic career likely over
Colangelo told ESPN in June that LeBron’s Olympic career is likely over due to the four-time MVP’s age. The King last played in the Olympics in 2012.
“LeBron made choices these last couple of Olympics not to participate because he’s got a lot of things going on in his life,” Colangelo said in June. “So he put in his time, he made a contribution that is appreciated, but I think his time is over.”
LeBron has played in three Olympics. He joined USA Basketball for the 2004 Games in Athens, where the Americans settled for bronze. The four-time NBA champion returned on the 2008 Redeem Team, winning gold in Beijing, and captured another gold medal four years later in London.
Love and LeBron will likely always have a strong relationship after winning a championship together. That rapport may grow even stronger after Colangelo’s jab toward Love.