Journalist Jason Whitlock takes a dig at LeBron James, blames him for Team USA’s decline in International Basketball events in recent times
On Sunday, Team USA fell short 79-89 to France in their opening group stage game. The Kevin Durant-led Team USA squad started the game off strong but cooled off since the second quarter. They went down by six points to end the third quarter but managed to pull ahead by 9 points in the fourth. However, France, led by Evan Fournier, went on a 16-2 run to finish the game and seal the win.
This marked the first Olympic loss for USA Basketball in their last 25 encounters. Despite LeBron James opting to not go for Tokyo 2020, the media somehow found a way to blame him for the loss. Jason Whitlock, a well-known journalist, and a podcast host used some logic to pin the whole Team USA’s mediocre performances on LeBron.
‘LeBron James is the reason American athletes are indifferent towards the Olympics’
When LeBron James donned the Team USA jersey for the first time, the USA was undefeated. They had been winning the Gold in every major tournament, since the inclusion of professional players in national events. However, as soon as he joined, the USA got Bronze in the Greece 2004 Olympics. They then got Bronze again in the 2006 FIBA World Cup.
Since then, the USA has won Gold in all three Olympics. However, we have seen quite a few athletes turn down opportunities to play for Team USA. Jason Whitlock talks about the same and assigned the blame to LeBron James.
“American basketball is in a worse place than where LeBron found it. That’s what separates him from Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Julius Erving, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar [and] Bill Russell. LeBron dropped the basketball torch handed to him by the game’s greatest ambassadors,”
American indifference to basketball and the Olympics falls at the feet of one man. LeBron won’t be remembered the way we remember Ali, Jordan and Magic. pic.twitter.com/1KlvWUeCSL
— Jason Whitlock (@WhitlockJason) July 26, 2021
Whitlock went ahead and called James the face of the me-first, social media athlete. In his opening, he also called this as one of the main reasons why LeBron would never be considered GOAT over Michael Jordan.
Whatever the case may be, blaming LeBron James for this entire ordeal does not make sense. At the end of the day, LBJ is another athlete too, and he has the right to make his own decisions.