Jerry Colangelo Backs Down from Olympics Threat

by April 06, 2010

This is what happens when the world’s biggest basketball star calls your bluff, as the Toronto Sun reports: “Skipping the World Basketball Championship this summer won’t necessarily keep LeBron James and others off the 2012 U.S. Olympic team after all. Speaking to Sun Media after the 2010 hall of fame class was announced Monday, USA Basketball head honcho Jerry Colangelo clarified statements he made earlier this week that raised the ire of James. ‘We appreciate the fact they’re willing to give their time. We have to be flexible,’ Colangelo said. ‘Some players may have to miss for whatever the reason may be — contracts, injuries, family issues…free agency this year is big.’ Previously, Colangelo had said he would not provide ‘free passes’ in terms of playing in London in 2012 for players who skipped the worlds without a valid excuse. That had sparked an angry response from James, the likely NBA MVP. ‘There’s a lot that goes on with being a professional athlete other than just basketball,’ James told reporters. ‘I’m not trying to bash Jerry or anything like that because he’s a good guy and I respect him. I don’t respect (his statement) because of the commitment we’ve all given to the U.S.A.”’