Jalen Rose Apologizes After Saying Kevin Love Made USA Olympic Team Due to 'Tokenism'

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVJune 28, 2021

ESPN analyst Jalen Rose looks on prior to the first half of an NBA basketball game between the Los Angeles Lakers vs the Philadelphia 76ers, Saturday, Jan. 25, 2020, in Philadelphia. The 76ers won 108-91. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)
AP Photo/Chris Szagola

ESPN analyst Jalen Rose apologized for comments he made about Cleveland Cavaliers star Kevin Love being part of Team USA for the Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

Last Thursday on Jalen & Jacoby, Rose said, "Kevin Love is on the team because of tokenism. Don't be scared to make an all-Black team representing the United States of America."

Jalen & Jacoby @JalenandJacoby

Despite being excited for Olympic hoops, <a href="https://twitter.com/JalenRose?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@JalenRose</a> is disappointed in Team USA's token selection of Kevin Love. <a href="https://t.co/VgKUeRicAB">pic.twitter.com/VgKUeRicAB</a>

Rose addressed those comments in an Instagram video on Monday.

"But you know why I'm apologizing right now? To the game," he said (via Michael Lee of Yahoo Sports). "Because I’m what the game made me. I was raised by the all-time greats, and you know what I would never want to do? Disappoint [Rose’s late mother] Jeanie Rose or disappoint the all-time greats that raised me."

USA Basketball executive director Jerry Colangelo told reporters that Love's experience in the Olympics—he was on the 2012 squad that won gold in London—provided an edge for him over New York Knicks star Julius Randle. Colangelo went on to say the five-time All-Star brings other assets to the table:

Marc J. Spears @MarcJSpears

Jerry Colangelo says Kevin Love made the USA team due to his versatility, ability to rebound and score and his previous <a href="https://twitter.com/usabasketball?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@usabasketball</a> experience. Sounds like Colangelo believes that Love has also accepted a reserve role, too.

Love is by far the most questionable member of the 12-man roster. He has made just 103 appearances for the Cavs over the past three seasons, and the 2020-21 campaign was the worst of his career. The 6'8" forward averaged 12.2 points and 7.4 rebounds while shooting 40.9 percent from the floor and 36.5 percent from beyond the arc.

As Rose said on Jalen & Jacoby, Love wasn't even the best player on a 22-win Cavs team, a title that would probably go to Collin Sexton.

For those who questioned Love's inclusion, Colangelo's explanation may not suffice.


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.