Paul George will stay on the Team USA roster for the 2016 Olympics, USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo told NBA.com on Thursday.
The team will also look into options for a tribute to George, who broke his leg in a gruesome accident on Aug. 1 in Las Vegas during a scrimmage, when the World Cup begins this month.
But Colangelo said the team is currently too thin on the front court to pay the biggest tribute to George — keeping him on the 12-man roster for the World Cup.
“We thought it’s the right thing to do,” Colangelo said. “That’s it. … We didn’t give thought to all the detail. Just that when a guy goes down and all these things, the circumstances, his career passes before him, he’s out for a year, a year-plus, he’s not able to participate now with us — we wanted to throw that out and say, ‘We’re counting on you. You’ve got a spot in ’16.’”
Honoring George at the World Cup in Spain is more of a challenge. USA Basketball has considered a uniform patch with his initials or jersey number and using the NBA tradition of writing a message on shoes, but the rules of FIBA, the sport’s international governing body, prohibit altering uniforms.
USA Basketball is considering asking to change the FIBA rules.
“As far as the players are concerned, this is a rallying point in terms of what happened to Paul,” Colangelo said. “We just want to take some steps that are yet to be determined that we’re talking about to bring attention to Paul George and what his contribution has been.”