View Full Version : Malone Questions Olympic Hold-Outs

03-03-2003, 12:18 PM
Malone wonders why Shaq, Garnett won't commit to Games
Posted: Sunday March 02, 2003 4:08 PM

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- Karl Malone can't understand why Shaquille O'Neal and Kevin Garnett are not jumping at the chance to play for the United States at the 2004 Olympics.

"You can't make people play. You wish they would, but you can't make 'em play. But if guys know what's at stake here and they don't want to play, there's something wrong with them, basically," Malone said Sunday before Utah's game against the New Jersey Nets.

The 18th-year Jazz forward is one of seven players already chosen for the U.S. Olympic team, although Malone's spot has not been officially announced.

The selections of Tracy McGrady, Jason Kidd, Ray Allen and Tim Duncan have been announced, while Mike Bibby, Kobe Bryant and Malone have said they were invited and intend to play.

The U.S. team will play in a qualifying tournament in August in Puerto Rico in an effort to clinch one of the three Olympic berths from the Americas region.

"Being able to have an opportunity to play for another gold medal, being 41 years old, being [in Athens] where the Olympics originated, getting to take my family there -- there's a lot of plusses," Malone said. "There ain't that many minuses."

Malone played on the original Dream Team at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona and on the 1996 team that won in Atlanta.

Ready to do it all over again, Malone is over the mental and physical exhaustion that led him to jump on the first available airplane out of Atlanta after beating Yugoslavia for the gold.

Malone said he did not watch any of the basketball from the 2000 Olympics, where the Americans nearly lost, or the 2002 World Championships, where the U.S. team finished sixth after losses to Argentina, Yugoslavia and Spain.

Although he acknowledges the competition has improved, Malone said he will still go into the Olympics with the Dream Team's mind-set -- hoping to defeat every opponent by 40 points.

What remains to be seen is whether two of the best American big men will be playing alongside him.

USA basketball spokesman Craig Miller said neither O'Neal nor Garnett has completely closed the door on the possibility of playing in 2004.

O'Neal has cited his participation in the 1994 World Championships and the 1996 Olympics in defending his decision to sit out, while Garnett has said he wants to be certain about committing the bulk of two summers to the national team.

If O'Neal doesn't play, USA Basketball will have to choose a center from a pool of candidates that figures to include Jermaine O'Neal, Ben Wallace and Brad Miller.

"You look around, and without a doubt you'd hope that Shaq would play. There's not tons of centers out there, but there's forwards that can play center by committee," Malone said. "You would hope a guy like Shaq would play. I don't know why he wouldn't, but that's a decision he's got to make. So we'll have to wait and see.

"It's not about taking up your summer," Malone said. "Basketball has been good to you, and to give up one of your summers for all you've gotten -- I don't think that's too much to ask.

"I think when it comes down to it, those guys will realize that. You'd hope they would."

Way to go Malone.

03-03-2003, 07:57 PM
As much as I dislike Malone, I was happy that he questioned these players.

I doubt Shaq changes his mind. Or maybe he likes the drama that he's created by his comments, then thinks he'll save the day at the last minute by accepting an invitation.

Wasn't Garnett one of the first to offer to play? I can't remember the stories right now. He did sort of back pedal about committing once he made that offer. However, he'll do the right thing and end up playing I'm sure.

03-04-2003, 05:24 PM
Garnett says he won't be rushed into Olympics decision

March 4, 2003

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Garnett said he won't be rushed into deciding whether to play for the U.S. Olympic team.

Karl Malone, the Utah Jazz forward who has committed to play in the Olympic qualifying tournament this summer and the Summer Olympics in 2004, told The Associated Press on Sunday that he couldn't understand why Garnett and Los Angeles Lakers center Shaquille O'Neal are not jumping at the chance to play for Team USA.

But with contract negotiations looming and the Wolves in the hunt for a seventh consecutive playoff berth, Garnett said after practice Monday that he doesn't have a timetable for deciding. Garnett also questioned why Malone didn't say anything to him when the Jazz played here last week.

``I'm not going to speed my thought process up and assess my situation any quicker than I already have because Karl Malone says something,'' Garnett said.

Garnett, who won a gold medal in the 2000 Olympics, noted that he would have to commit his next two summers to USA Basketball if he accepts the invitation to join.

``They want two summers in the door, and that's a lot,'' Garnett said. ``It's a lot with 82 games seasons, it's a lot committing to that. If I play, I want to be productive. I don't want to be in a situation where I'm worn down, and I want to be in a position where I feel like I can help the team -- where I'm healthy enough.''

03-04-2003, 05:30 PM
Should be noted that Bibby and Malone have already accepted roster spots. Kobe is still waiting though.


Tuesday, March 4

NBA players facing first pre-Olympic drug testing

Associated Press

COPENHAGEN, Denmark -- NBA players on Olympic teams will face out-of-competition, random drug tests for the 2004 Athens Games starting July 1 as part of a global program that is expected to be approved Wednesday.

Under the system, which applies to athletes in all Olympic sports, drug testers can show up unannounced at a player's house at any time to ask for a sample.

This is the first time NBA stars will face such comprehensive, pre-Olympic testing, U.S. drug officials said.

"There will be no differentiation between a team handball athlete and an NBA professional,'' said Terry Madden, chief executive officer of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency.

The NBA and other U.S. professional leagues are not formally covered by the World Anti-Doping code being completed at a three-day drug summit here. The code set outs uniform drug-testing rules and sanctions across all sports and countries.

Pro leagues are only "encouraged'' to comply, because they aren't under the jurisdiction of international sports federations or national governments. But pro athletes wishing to take part in the Olympics are subject to the same pre-games testing as other competitors.

Players on the U.S. roster or contending for spots on the Athens team will be part of a pool of athletes subject to testing.

The program is similar to what NHL players faced before the Salt Lake City Olympics. NBA players have been in the Olympics since the first Dream Team at the 1992 Barcelona Games.

"We've been through it before with the NHL players, and it worked well,'' Madden said. "I think they can relate to the NBA and tell them that everything is done properly.''

The NBA players' union had no comment Tuesday except to say it was reviewing the new policy.

U.S. players had to take random drug tests at training sites in Hawaii and Australia before the 2000 Sydney Olympics. NBA players also were subject to out-of-competition controls before last year's world championships in Indianapolis, where the United States finished sixth.

USA Basketball, the national governing body, said this is the first time players will be eligible for testing so far before the games and away from the playing venues.

"It's something the USOC has encouraged and been pushing for,'' USA Basketball spokesman Craig Miller said. "It's a requirement.''

Last month, Ray Allen, Jason Kidd, Tracy McGrady and Tim Duncan were selected to the 12-man team. Kobe Bryant, Mike Bibby and Karl Malone are also expected to join, with the rest of the roster announced in the spring.

The team will compete in a qualifying tournament in Puerto Rico in August. If the Americans finish among the top three, they earn a trip to Athens.

The U.S. Olympic Committee, the White House Drug Control Policy Office and the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency back the new code.

Edward Jurith, general counsel of the White House office, called the code a "significant step forward'' but said the U.S. government was not in a position to influence the pro leagues.

Sports organizations have until the Athens Olympics to sign the code or face possible expulsion from the games. Governments are to sign a declaration of support before the 2006 Games in Turin, Italy.

03-04-2003, 05:34 PM
Hey Garnett,
What about our men and women who pull down less than 24K a year representing their country, risking and losing their lives so you can bring in your multi-million contract? Ever consider they might feel "worn down"?

03-04-2003, 05:51 PM
Well said Frog.

We talked about this some when the World Games were on this past summer. It was an embarrassment, imo, the lack of players wanting to represent their country.

Like Malone said, you can't make someone play, but I feel the only reason some players are stepping up now is from the fall out of the World games. The US was embarrassed and now some players are scrambling to try and make up for it.

It is a long season, health has to be a factor, but I can't believe some of the comments made by some players.

Shaq's being the most embarrassing of all.

03-07-2003, 12:05 PM
I think as much as we want these players to play to show the muscle of the US basketball. Maybe for chemistry sake they just say no to these players, who needs teammates that don't necessarily want to be their.