Kevin Love departed from Team USA ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics due to a lingering right calf injury. It forced the Americans to replace him days before the actual competition and their exhibition losses didn't help the situation. They weren't looking like the dominant USA basketball team that the world is used to watching and weren't even gold medal favorites at that point.
Love thought he had left the national team on good terms but that was hardly the case. After his departure, Team USA managing director Jerry Colangelo threw him under the bus and did something that is widely unacceptable in professional sports circles.
Kevin Love was a guest on HBO's "The Shop: Uninterrupted", hosted by LeBron James and Maverick Carter. Often when James is busy with offseason conditioning or in the middle of a season, Carter hosts the show alone. In their latest episode, Love discussed what transpired during his brief tenure with Team USA ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and it enraged a lot of players in the NBA.
"It was just wrong in so many ways": Kevin Love shares his disgust at Team USA MD Jerry Colangelo
Kevin Love departed citing injuries and according to him, Team USA managing director Jerry Colangelo told him that he respected his move and promised him that Team USA would protect him regarding his withdrawal.
However, after the withdrawal, Colangelo went back on his word and publicly issued a statement damning Love for his decision. As reported by ESPN's Brian Windhorst, Colangelo said:
"I didn't think Kevin Love was going to play. I wasn't even sure he had much left to play. 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. Call it giving someone an opportunity. Someone who had equity with us."
The statement that stands out is "He wasn't in shape and he was way behind as it turned out". Kevin Love is still a player in the league and he might sign a contract with another NBA team soon, and Colangelo's statement might hinder the Cavaliers forward's chances of striking any deal if the front offices believe he is not in shape.
Maverick Carter said,
"Now all these GMs are going to read this and say 'wait a minute, he's damaged goods'. I was like this is f**ked up"
Naturally, Kevin Love wasn't thrilled about this and he made sure to express his anger at Jerry Colangelo on the show, 'The Shop: Uniterrupted'. He said,
"He wanted something to point the finger at if they lost. In case it didn't go right, which it was looking bad. It was just wrong in so many ways. And for me, I'm sitting up here, being the nice guy right now but honestly, f**k that. F**k him"
LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony, two former gold medalists for Team USA, share the same sentiment. Love mentioned that James called him and said:
"Bron called me, same thing, and was like 'yeah, f**k that. That's something that should never be said regardless of what was said on either side and all of it; you just never do that."
Although USA's campaign in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics ended with a gold medal, many NBA stars were upset at what Colangelo did. The segment on the episode ended with everyone cussing out Jerry Colangelo and saying "F**k him" and "F**k you Jerry" in unison after Kevin Love told his story.