Following heavy criticism from his experience with USA Basketball prior to the Olympics, Kevin Love finally spoke out on the subject in an interview with Taylor Rooks posted on Twitter by Bleacher Report, and said some people “threw me under the bus.”
The Cavaliers power forward said he was still recovering from a calf injury when he committed to play. Love eventually withdrew from Team USA before the squad headed to Tokyo.
“I was not able to be in the best shape I could have been because I couldn’t fully run yet with my calf, I couldn’t really push off,” he said. “I still could really shoot the ball, I could space the floor, I could rebound but as far as switching one-through-five and how they wanted to play, it just wasn’t appropriate for me.”
Jerry Colangelo, the former managing director of USA Basketball, criticized the 2012 gold medalist last summer for not being in shape when he showed up to camp.
“I didn’t think Kevin Love was going to play. I wasn’t even sure he had much left to play,” Colangelo said. “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 who 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.”
Love said those comments stung.
“People that I’ve had relationships with throughout USA basketball for that long, threw me under the bus. And I didn’t like that,” Love said. “I felt that I did the right thing by coming to the landing spot and landing point that I eventually got to. I just thought it was very unfair and coming from this elite fraternity that we have in our 450 players. You would think, like, you take care of each other. … I hope I’m a part of that family from here on out.”