LaShawn notes one of the reasons that the USA Olympic bastketball team is in dire straits, linking to Rudy Gersten’s NRO piece on the NBA players that at first accepted positions on the team, then declined.
The list of perennial NBA All Stars that either declined invitations or withdrew after previously agreeing to play is quite impressive: Tracy McGrady, Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant, Karl Malone, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, Jason Kidd, Mike Bibby, Jermaine O’Neal, Vince Carter, Elton Brand, Kenyon Martin, and Ben Wallace — to name just a few.[SNIP]
Many of these players have not been shy about why they refused to play for Team U.S.A.Security reasons. (Bryant is one of the exceptions here. Likely, he isn't allowed to leave the country just now.)
Noting that many of the foreign-born NBA players did not back out of their commitments--either for the USA or the countries of their birth--I have to say that some people have keener perspective on their good fortune in life than do others.
Among American-born NBA players who did fulfill their Olympic commitments this year, my opinion of one of them has shot up a bit. Previously a bad-actor, it seems as though Allen Iverson is maturing in several ways. Good on him.
Perhaps Malone, Kidd, Wallace, et al. can make up for their…lack of integrity by holding a clinic for those who are in Iraq for security reasons.
However, I won’t hold my breath waiting for it to happen.