Iguodala up for one of two final Olympic spots
The U.S. Olympic team will be officially announced on Saturday on the NBA TV network, but the bulk of the roster has already been decided upon.
U.S.A. Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo confirmed to Fox Sports Florida earlier this week that Carmelo Anthony, Kobe Bryant, Tyson Chandler, Kevin Durant, LeBron James, Kevin Love, Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook and Deron Williams are assured spots on the team.
CBSSports' Jeff Goodman then reported Thursday that Blake Griffin is expected to fill in for Chris Bosh, who will miss the games as he continues to recover from an abdominal injury that sidelined him for a good portion of the playoffs.
That leaves openings on the 12-man roster for the following five players: Anthony Davis, Rudy Gay, Eric Gordon, James Harden and the Sixers’ Andre Iguodala.
Iguodala is currently in Las Vegas and working out with the team in its training camp. He was a starter on the 2010 World Championship team that won the gold in Turkey, but he seems to have the odds stacked against him here. Because of injuries, the U.S. team needs big men and that bodes well for a power forward like Davis. It also seems as if a versatile player like Harden could get a spot because of his ability to score and defend.
However, the coaching staff from the 2010 team was quite fond of Iguodala and saw him as the glue that kept the first unit together. Whether that gets him to London for the Olympics, though, remains to be seen.
Meanwhile, Sixers’ coach Doug Collins is headed to London on July 22 where he will be working as an analyst for NBC’s coverage of the games. And for the second straight cycle, Collins’ son Chris will be on the bench with the U.S. team as an assistant on head coach Mike Krzyzewski’s staff.
That’s not all for Collins’ Olympic-themed summer, either. In London, Collins will join his teammates for the 40th anniversary of the infamous 1972 Olympics. It was there, just days after an attack by an Arab terrorist group known as Black September captured Israeli athletes and ultimately massacred them, that Collins and his teammates were at the center of their own kind of controversy on the floor.
In the gold medal game against the Soviet Union, Collins stole a pass at midcourt, drove to the basket and was fouled so hard that he was knocked unconscious. When he came to, Collins stepped to the foul line and sank both shots with three seconds left in the game to seemingly win the gold for the U.S.
What occurred next will be debated forever. The Soviet team was given three chances to score in the final three seconds and was awarded the medals when they made a basket on the third try. The U.S. team protested the result and boycotted the medal ceremony.
To this day Collins says he has never seen his medal.
That didn’t sway Collins’ passion for the Olympic movement or U.S. Basketball, though.
Working for NBC during the 2008 Olympics, Collins was on the sidelines calling the gold medal game between the U.S.A. and Spain, while his son was working on the bench with Krzyzewski. During the run up to the Olympics, Collins spoke to the “Redeem Team,” specifically about what happened in 1972, long before the current Olympians had been born. Actually, Chris Collins heard the stories for the first time during those pre-Olympic talks, too.
But when it was all over in Beijing and the U.S.A. had reclaimed the gold medal, Collins finally felt what it was like to have it draped around his neck.
Collins’ son gave his dad the gold medal.
“He put it around my neck," Collins shared, "And said, ‘This is 36 years too late.’”E-mail John Finger at email@example.com