Olympian is one resume title Warriors star point guard Stephen Curry will wait to add.
Curry is foregoing his opportunity to play for Team USA in the Summer Olympics, which will take place in Brazil later this month, in favor of resting his right knee that he injured during Round 1 of the 2016 postseason.
A team issued statement from Curry said:
“After a great deal of internal thought and several discussions with my family, the Warriors and my representatives, I’ve elected to withdraw my name from the list of eligible players on Team USA’s preliminary roster for the 2016 Summer Games in Brazil. I recently informed Jerry Colangelo of this decision.”
Much has been made of health concerns due to inhospitable conditions in the Brazilian capital of Rio de Janeiro, as the Zika virus, spread by mosquitoes is plaguing the area, along with a heavy dose of sewage in the waters surrounding areas that will be used for Olympic games.
Curry’s statement continued:
“My previous experiences with USA Basketball have been incredibly rewarding, educational and enjoyable, which made this an extremely difficult decision for me and my family. However, due to several factors – including recent ankle and knee injuries – I believe this is the best decision for me at this stage of my career. It’s an incredible honor to represent your country and wear ‘USA’ on your chest, but my primary basketball-related objective this summer needs to focus on my body and getting ready for the 2016-17 NBA season.”
An hour before tip-off of Game 1 of the NBA Finals, commissioner Adam Silver voiced the importance of Curry to the league:
“To me, what’s happening with Steph, and it’s not just young boys, but young girls as well, while he’s by no means small relative to regular-sized folks, by NBA standards he’s a little bit undersized. I mean, he’s smaller than the average player in this league. He’s not particularly physically overwhelming, and I think it broadens the pool in many ways of potential players in this league. I think even with his three-point shooting, what it’s demonstrating is that there’s a whole — for a class of young people playing the game who can at least dream that they can potentially do what he can do. You can’t dream that you’re going to be 7 feet tall, but you can work at it and become a fantastic competitor on the floor.”
Marcus Thompson of the Bay Area News Group wrote Monday morning that sources have indicated that LeBron James might also bow out of the Olympics due to concerns over the Zika epidemic, and that others may follow.
Curry has only publicly cited his health as it relates to a knee injured during Game 4 of the first round of this year’s playoffs, a Grade 1 MCL sprain that sidelined him for a few weeks.
But given the nature of the NBA, with contract dollars equal to the annual income of some American counties and endorsement deals that can be even more lucrative, it wouldn’t be shocking if Curry is just the first of many to opt out of wearing the Team USA jersey this summer.