Jalen Rose criticizes Kevin Love’s Team USA inclusion as ‘tokenism’
Jalen Rose is not happy with Kevin Love’s presence on the United States Olympic team this year, but it is certainly not for basketball reasons.
Speaking this week on ESPN’s “Jalen and Jacoby,” Rose said that he was disappointed with Love’s inclusion, which he saw as white “tokenism.”
“Kevin Love is on the team because of tokenism,” said Rose, per Cavaliers Nation. “Don’t be scared to make an all-black team representing the United States of America. I’m disappointed by that. Anybody that watched the league this year knows Kevin Love did not have a stellar season, was not the best player on his team, and did not necessarily deserve to be on this squad.
“I’m gonna tell you whose spot that should be,” Rose went on. “That should be a young man that was born in the Bahamas, that as a McDonald’s All-American played in high school and college in Phoenix, Arizona. Deandre Ayton should have Kevin Love’s spot. I’m disappointed in Team USA for not having the courage to send an all-black team to the Olympics.”
Rose also noted in the segment the supposed “favoritism” that Christian Laettner received in making the 1992 “Dream Team” over the likes of Shaquille O’Neal and Alonzo Mourning.
What Rose fails to mention is the fact that the United States already sent an all-black team to represent them at the 2016 Olympics in Rio, a team that won the gold medal. The 2000, 2004 and 2008 Olympic teams were all also all-black. Plus, Love has also already paid his dues at the national level. He was a part of the 2012 team that won gold at the London Games as well.
From a purely basketball standpoint, Love brings an important skillset to balance out the United States roster. Bam Adebayo and Draymond Green are their other potential center options. That means Love’s three-point shooting will be important to properly space the floor.
Rose, who has had similarly questionable moments before, is correct in alluding to Love’s mediocre averages of 12.2 points and 7.4 rebounds per game this year for Cleveland. But there are plenty of race-neutral reasons why Love is well-deserving of a spot on this year’s Olympic team.