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ESPN Analyst Says Five-Time NBA All-Star Only Made Olympics Because He’s White


While it is debatable whether another player could have taken Love’s spot, there is no evidence he was selected because of race, as the ESPN host implied.


ESPN analyst Jalen Rose made a racist comment Thursday about NBA champion and five-time All-Star Kevin Love, saying he was only selected to the U.S. Olympic team because of white “tokenism.”

“I’m excited about the roster and I assume, and I know, we’re going to win the gold,” Rose, a former NBA player said. “But I’m disappointed in something … this level of, and I got a word for it. … Kevin Love is on the team because of tokenism. 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. I’m going to tell you whose spot that should be.”

“That should be a young man that was born in the Bahamas,” Rose continued. “That is a McDonald’s All-American, playing high school and college in Phoenix, Arizona. Deandre Ayton should have Kevin Love’s spot. And I’m disappointed in Team USA for not having the courage to send an all-black team to the Olympics.”

An ESPN on-air talent who wishes to remain anonymous disagreed with Rose’s assessment and told The Federalist that Love “has made a commitment to USA Basketball in the past, he has international experience, and his skill set fits the international game.”

“Experience is huge, especially after the horrible result at the FIBA World Cup,” the employee said. “Plus, Love and the Cavaliers know this could increase Love’s trade value. They both likely pushed for it. Also, give me the name of the player with his skill set and experience who should be on the roster. In 2004, we sent an inexperienced team to Athens — LeBron [James], [Dwyane] Wade, and Carmelo [Anthony] — and they lost three times, took home bronze.”

While it is debatable whether another player could have taken Love’s spot due to skill, there is no evidence the Cleveland Cavaliers forward was selected due to his skin color. Love is a league veteran, having been drafted in 2008, and has averaged 18 points and 11 rebounds per game during his career — a double-double.

Love helped the U.S. team take gold in the 2012 Olympics, and they finished undefeated. He also was on the 2010 team that won gold in the FIBA World Championship. While the NBA player only appeared in 25 games this season, his scoring numbers put him in the team’s top five, at 12.2 points per game. He also averaged 7.4 rebounds per game, third on the team.

It is equally unclear why Rose called for an “all-black team.” All evidence points to the fact that the 12-team roster was assembled this month with athleticism and ability in mind to take gold.

ESPN spokesman Ben Cafardo declined to comment to The Federalist.