Rio 2016 seems to grow thin of must-watch athletes. Russell Westbrook has withdrawn from the Team USA selection for the summer olympics.
In a statement, Russell Westbrook said “After speaking with my family, I have decided to not participate in this year’s Olympics. This was not an easy decision, as representing my country at the World Championships in 2010 and the Olympics in 2012 were career highlights for me. I look forward to future opportunities as a member of USA Basketball.”
Though Westbrook did not mention the ongoing health situation in Rio due to the Zika virus, NBC Sports reports. USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo also clarified to ESPN that players who have withdrew from being selected to play for the Team USA in basketball did not do so due to Zika.
Other players who have opted out of Team USA are Stephen Curry who needed time to fully rest his knees, LaMarcus Aldridge for a finger injury and Anthony Davis with knee and shoulder injuries among others.
However, ESPN points out that Russell Westbrook has no reported injury. Instead, his game history shows a powerful record season with 80 games. He also averages 23.5 points per game. He also added another 18 games for Oklahoma City Thunder’s journey to the Western Conference Finals.
Meanwhile, his teammate, Kevin Durant has shown no qualms in joining Team USA for the Rio Olympics.
Due to Westbrook’s withdrawal, Team USA now needs to secure a point guard quick.
Team USA for basketball needs to complete their 12-man team and announce it late June right after the NBA finals.
Basketball training camp for Team USA begins mid-July until they compete in Rio Olympics from August 5-21.
Despite injuries sustained and withdrawals, Team USA has a huge task ahead of them. Winning gold in the last London 2012, Team USA must not only defend their top spot but also maintain a good record of 8-0 wins.