Michael Jordan considered declining Dream Team Olympic invite

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Michael Jordan said he hoped not to be offered a Dream Team Olympic roster spot.

“I was trying to figure out a way, graciously, that I could decline,” Jordan said in the 2012 NBA TV documentary on the legendary 1992 Barcelona Olympic men’s basketball team.

Jordan said he “had done the Olympic thing before.” True. He starred on the 1984 U.S. Olympic team that took gold in Los Angeles, back when college players made up the roster.

Sam Smith, in his 1992 book “The Jordan Rules,” relayed that Scottie Pippen asked Jordan before a March 1991 Chicago Bulls game if he wanted to participate in the 1992 Olympics. Jordan’s response: “Why would I?”

Jordan noted the exhaustion of playing a whole NBA season and playoffs, followed by pre-Olympic contests and the Games themselves. And that his 1984 Olympic coach, the stern Bobby Knight, made it a less enjoyable experience.

“The one guy that we were a little bit concerned about was probably Michael,” said Rod Thorn, a member of the USA Basketball 1992 Olympic selection committee who, as the Chicago Bulls general manager in 1984, drafted Jordan.

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Come summer 1991, Thorn extended the Olympic invitation.

“When Rod Thorn called me and asked me, I wasn’t gung-ho about it,” Jordan said nearly two decades later.

Thorn appealed: You’re the world’s best player. This is bigger than the NBA Finals. We need you.

“[Jordan’s] thing — well, who else is playing?” Thorn said in the NBA TV documentary. “Are all the good players going to play? I’m not going to play by myself.”

The next call went to Magic Johnson, who was all-in. Dominoes followed.

When the NBC Selection Show came up Sept. 21, 1991, Jordan was dressed finely, sitting between Johnson, who revealed Jordan’s inclusion, and Marv Albert.

Albert’s first question to Jordan was why he changed his mind after he originally indicated he would not play.

“My instruction to Rod Thorn when he first invited me that I was going to keep it low key and let this show happen, so I played it like it never was going to happen,” Jordan said. “I knew all along that I was going to play. I had you guys fooled.”

MORE: Michael Jordan’s note to Bobby Knight before 1984 Olympic final

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Remco Evenepoel fractures pelvis in crash over bridge wall into ravine

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Belgian cyclist Remco Evenepoel fractured his pelvis crashing his bike and flipping over a bridge wall into a ravine at the Tour of Lombardy in Italy on Saturday.

Video showed Evenepoel, the 20-year-old world time trial silver medalist, being put in an ambulance on a stretcher minutes after the crash.

His team, Deceuninck-QuickStep, reported he remained conscious while being put on a stretcher, into an ambulance and taken to a hospital. He also suffered a right lung contusion.

In 2019, Evenepoel became the youngest-ever male podium finisher in a senior world road cycling championships event, according to Gracenote. In 2018, he swept the junior road race and time trial world titles.

MORE: UCI looks for new host for 2020 World Road Cycling Championships

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Noah Lyles raises black-gloved fist, wins 200m in Monaco

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Noah Lyles said he had plans going forward to make statements, beyond his rapid sprint times. He did that in Monaco on Friday.

Lyles raised a black, fingerless-gloved right fist before getting into the blocks to win a 200m in his first international race of the season, conjuring memories of the famous 1968 Olympic podium gesture.

He clocked 19.76 seconds, leading a one-two with younger brother Josephus. Full results are here.

“As athletes it’s hard to show that you love your country and also say that change is needed,” was posted on Lyles’ Instagram, along with hashtags including #blacklivesmatter. “This is my way of saying this country is great but it can be better.”

Lyles, the world 200m champion, also paid respect to 1968 Olympic 200m gold and bronze medalists Tommie Smith and John Carlos three hours before the race.

He tweeted an iconic image of Smith and Carlos raising their single black-gloved fists on the medal stand at the Mexico City Games. Thirteen minutes earlier, Lyles posted an Instagram Story image of his socks for the meet — plain, dark colored.

Smith and Carlos wore black socks without shoes on the podium to signify endemic poverty back in the U.S. at the time.

Lyles is known for his socks, often posting images of colorful pairs he wears before races, themes including Speed Racer, R2-D2 and Sonic the Hedgehog.

“We are at the point where you can’t do nothing anymore,” Lyles said Wednesday. “There aren’t any rules set out. You’re kind of just pushing the boundary as far as you can go. Some people have said, even if there were rules, they’re willing to go farther than that.”

MORE: Noah, Josephus Lyles take 4-year journey to Monaco

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