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ESPN analyst Jalen Rose walked back comments that Cleveland Cavaliers power forward Kevin Love had only made the United States’s Olympic basketball team because it needed a token white player.

“But you know why I’m apologizing right now? To the game. Because I’m what the game made me,” Rose said while apologizing for his comments. “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.”

The apology comes after comments Rose made on a podcast last week when the ESPN analyst argued Love was only selected to play for Team USA because it didn’t want to send an “all-black” team to the Olympics, calling the decision “tokenism.”

“I’m excited about the roster, and I assume, and I know, we’re going to win the gold. But I’m disappointed in something. As I do this show every day, I do it in front of a picture of Tommie Smith and John Carlos raising their fist at the Olympics. I also know the favoritism that Christian Laettner was shown when he got a chance to be put on the Dream Team ahead of Shaq and Alonzo (Mourning). But they made it so a college player could even get on and gave him favoritism,” Rose said at the time.


“But this level of, and I got a word for it … Kevin Love is on the team because of tokenism,” Rose continued. “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. And I’m not going to take him off the squad and not put somebody else on it.”

Rose went on to argue that Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton, who was born in the Bahamas, should be on the team instead. The only reason Love was chosen over him, Rose insisted, was because Team USA didn’t have “the courage to send an all-black team to the Olympics.”

But Rose also made clear in his apology that he didn’t believe Love should have made the team, though he focused more on the player’s recent performance and injury issues to argue the point.

“Not that I believe that you deserve to make the team,” Rose said of Love. “I’m pretty sure when you got the call, too, you were like ‘Word?! I’m on the squad.’ I know how this works, ya’ll. He looked down at his phone and was like, ‘Yo, they want me? They’re gonna ignore these Cleveland Cav lost tape years?’”

Love was limited to just 25 games for the Cavaliers this past season, averaging 12.2 points and 7.4 rebounds per game in limited action. Love also emerged as a mental health advocate for the league’s players during the injury-plagued season.


Rose said that nobody pressured him to make the 45-minute apology video, instead insisting that he realized his comments were a mistake.

“But like Katt Williams said, ‘Sometimes, playas mess up,’ so I apologize to the game,” Rose said. “That’s who I apologize to.”

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Tags: News, NBA, ESPN, Olympics, Sports

Original Author: Michael Lee

Original Location: ESPN’s Jalen Rose walks back comments arguing Kevin Love was selected for Team USA to be token white player