(The Post Millennial) – Commentator and former NBA player Jalen Rose said he thinks Love was chosen because Team USA wanted a white player on the otherwise all-black team.
On June 24, the ESPN analyst took to his show, Jalen & Jacoby, to offer his opinion on the nation’s Olympic basketball team selection.
Jalen Rose suggests white basketball player Kevin Love "is on the team because of tokenism," adding that he's "disappointed" the United States chose not to send an all-black team to the Olympics. pic.twitter.com/KIBCPOSgDB
— The Post Millennial (@TPostMillennial) July 3, 2021
In the episode, Rose said he believes “Kevin Love is on the team because of tokenism.” He then went on to suggest that the United States was “scared” to send an all-black basketball team to the Olympics, despite the fact that they have done so in the past, and that he was “disappointed” by the decision.
After making these comments, Rose then pivoted and began criticizing Love’s game. “Anybody that watched the league this year,” he said, “knows Kevin Love did not have a stellar season, was not the best player on his team, and did not necessarily deserve to be this squad.”
ESPN's Jalen Rose said a white NBA player made the Olympic roster because of "tokenism," and we lack the "courage" to have an all-black team.
If a white pundit called a black athlete a token, he'd be fired and ESPN would go on a MASSIVE apology tour.
This is insanity. https://t.co/if5imgEVRQ
— David Hookstead (@dhookstead) June 25, 2021
Many were quick to point out the double standards at play. “If a white pundit called a black athlete a token, he’d be fired and ESPN would go on a massive apology tour,” wrote commentator David Hookstead.
After facing pushback, Rose posted a 42 minute-long Instagram video in which he defended his stance on Love’s performance, but apologized for the language he used to made the point.
Rose said that he felt like he’d “disrespected the game” of basketball.
“I’m what the game made me,” he said. “I was raised by the all-time greats … and you know what I would never want to do? Disappoint.”
Rose continued: “If I feel like Kevin Love didn’t deserve to make the team and I feel like it may be something racially motivated that caused him to make the team … if I feel that, I shouldn’t say it.”
Rose did eventually get around to apologizing to Love himself. “To Kevin Love,” he said, “I’m sorry. Not that I believe that you deserve to make the team…”
Jerry Colangelo says Kevin Love made the USA team due to his versatility, ability to rebound and score and his previous @usabasketball experience. Sounds like Colangelo believes that Love has also accepted a reserve role, too.
— Marc J. Spears (@MarcJSpears) June 28, 2021
ESPN’s Marc J. Spears tweeted that the team’s executive director Jerry Colangelo said Love made the cut “due to his versatility, ability to rebound and score and his previous @usabasketball experience.” As Bleacher Report points out, Love “was on the 2012 [Olympic] squad that won gold in London.”