Isnâ€™t it interesting how differently our two players perceived their invitations to compete for the U.S. National basketball team? I heard the audio clip of Luke, talking about the â€œhonorâ€ of being invited. He seemed genuinely thrilled with the idea of being part of the group that could possibly bring home the Gold medal for his country. In contrast, Rashard declined his invitation. This surprised me because we heard of him openly lobbying for a spot when the team was down in Phoenix, where Jerry Colangelo was considering the roster. A quote from the Percy Allen article today has Rashard saying "I feel like I don't want to be a body out there, being used to help the guys practice"; and later â€œIf they call me and guarantee me a spot, I'm there all the wayâ€. I feel bad for Rashard. I feel bad that he doesnâ€™t come at this with a better attitude. Itâ€™s almost like securing an interview for a dream job, but refusing to go unless youâ€™re guaranteed to get the position. What is wrong with competition? If Rashard believes he is as good as or better than those other players who were invited, why not go out and prove it? Play so good that they canâ€™t cut you Rashard. I understand that he feels the deck is stacked against him because many of the other players are more hi-profile than him; but I just wish the attitude was a little less defeatist, and more hopeful and positive. Rashard mentions that it would â€œreally hurt his feelings if he were cutâ€. At least you could say you tried. I would much rather have no regrets when my career was over; to be able to say I did my best, and competed as hard as I could, than to not try because of a possible failure.
Luke mentioned something about what a blessing it was just to be one of the few people to ever play in the NBA, let alone to be given an opportunity to play for the United States team. My hat is off to him; that is a very mature attitude. If I were 24-26 years old, and a millionaire to boot, I am sure I would make a complete fool out of myself daily in the way I behaved and the things I did and said. I remember those years; and I was broke. I empathize with Rashard. What a tremendous scrutiny these guysâ€™ lives are under. In the big picture, whether or not Rashard plays for the team probably makes little difference to team USA. They can replace his on court skills; it just seems to me that it could have been a once in a lifetime opportunity, for Rashard to go out and play and compete and grow as a person and basketball player.