Despite an impassioned case made on his behalf by that hater-of-all-things Peter Vescey in yesterday’s NY Post, Allan Iverson isn’t taking the bait when asked about his exclusion from Team USA. From the Philadelphia Daily News’ Phil Jasner.
Iverson had known for more than 10 days that he had been excluded. He had answered questions about the situation several times. He had been the face of the 2004 Olympic team, the one superstar who had been willing to play in Athens. He had won a bronze medal and wanted the opportunity to at least try and win a gold. He had said that to Colangelo during a Jan. 4 meeting in Phoenix that he believed had gone well.
Yesterday, Iverson said, “It’s time to leave that alone and let them go ahead and try to accomplish what they need to accomplish. [Colangelo’s] opinion is his opinion, and it’s just that. I don’t have anything negative to say about him. I don’t have anything negative to say about the situation.”
Colangelo mentioned “looking for players who fit job descriptions, teams that fit together, not individual stars.” Krzyzewski mentioned the Los Angeles Lakers’ Kobe Bryant as “a guy you want to build around… guys like LeBron [the Cleveland Cavaliers’ LeBron James], Dwyane Wade [of the Miami Heat].”
“If we were picking an All-Star team, Allen would have been there,” Colangelo said.
Voices around the NBA believed Iverson should have been invited, should have been given the opportunity to show he belonged. The Houston Rockets’ Tracy McGrady last week called Iverson’s exclusion “disrespectful.” Yesterday, injured Pacers star Jermaine O’Neal said, “I do personally think A.I. should have been on [the list], yeah. He’s the best guard in the league. I guess they are going a different route… He’s one of the top 5-10 players in the world; [that] you’re not going to invite him to try out for the team, it’s mind-boggling. I think he deserves the right to try to win a gold medal.”