Kobe, Rose, Lillard left off list of finalists for USA team at 2016 Olympics
Rose won't be wearing a Team USA jersey this summer.
By Brett Pollakoff
USA Basketball announced its list of finalists for the men's team at the 2016 Rio Olympics, and while there's obviously a ton of talent to choose from, at least one interesting name was left off of the list.
Derrick Rose has been consistently involved in the USA Basketball program, and played for the World Cup team in the summer of 2014. But perhaps due to a combination of his injury history, a drop-off in talent or simply a lack of interest, he didn't make the cut. Jimmy Butler, who has taken the title of "Bulls Best Player" from Rose since last season, was included on the list.
Damian Lillard is probably the biggest snub here, at least in terms of pure talent. But he didn't attend what Jerry Colangelo referred to as a "mandatory" mini-camp in Las Vegas last summer, and made some pointed remarks about how he didn't feel like his past efforts with USA Basketball were appreciated by those in charge.
"I did it the last few summers and last summer I didn't make it," Lillard said at the time. "I don't know why I would go. After I got cut last summer, I don't think I'm a part of it."
Kobe Bryant was also left off of the list, but there's a very good reason for that: He announced over the weekend that he wouldn't participate, and said that he wanted his last game ever to be played for the Los Angeles Lakers.