Russell Westbrook, James Harden Withdraw from Team USA 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio, DeMarcus Cousins Joins Roster
As NBA stars continue to drop off the Team USA roster for the 2016 Summer Olympics, the perpetually overlooked DeMarcus Cousins gets to live out his dream.
Oklahoma City point guard Russell Westbrook and Houston Rockets shooting guard James Harden become the latest players to withdraw from Olympic competition citing concerns over the Zika virus in the Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
“After speaking with my family, I have decided to not participate in this year’s Olympics,” said Westbrook in a statement on the Thunder’s website. “This was not an easy decision, as representing my country at the World Championships in 2010 and the Olympics in 2012 were career highlights for me. I look forward to future opportunities as a member of USA Basketball.”
Not long after Westbrook made his announcement, Harden decided to take his name out of the hat as well.
“As a result of many difficult conversations with my family, the Rockets, and trusted advisors, I’ve notified Jerry Colangelo and Team USA that I will not be competing at the 2016 Olympic Summer Games in Brazil,” said Harden. “This decision was a painstaking one that I did not take lightly.”
Westbrook and Harden join Chris Paul, John Wall, Blake Griffin, LaMarcus Aldridge, Stephen Curry, and Anthony Davis as other big name players to pull out of the games. LeBron James and Kyrie Irving are both still on the fence.
LeBron and others could continue to drop like flies without hurting the USA’s Gold Medal chances as long as hungry players like Cousins are still around to pick up the slack.
Cousins, the superstar for the Sacramento Kings, brings the unstoppable scoring and rebounding force that the team needs with Anthony Davis recovering this summer. Cousins was also a pivotal part of the 2014 Team USA squad that won Gold in the FIBA Tournament.
Let’s hope that concerns over the virus do not continue to adversely affect the Summer Games this year. Let’s also hope that the athletes that do go don’t have any issues.