OAKLAND – Stephen Curry told a fib over the weekend.
The Warriors star was not ready to announce his plan to withdraw from consideration for Team USA and the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil, so he deflected a question on the subject.
“I haven’t thought much about it right now,” he fibbed Saturday, one day before Game 2 of the NBA Finals against Cleveland, “because I’m obviously fighting for the Larry O’Brien Trophy.”
Curry added that he was “looking forward to” the Olympic experience.
On Monday, the back-to-back MVP announced his withdrawal from consideration, a decision reportedly relayed weeks ago to USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo.
“After a great deal of internal thought and several discussions with my family, the Warriors and my representatives,” Curry said in a statement released late Monday morning, “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.
“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.”
Curry’s decision is not a huge surprise insofar as he has been carefully sidestepping questions about his participation in the Rio Games. Curry in March did not rule out the possibility of bypassing The Games – and that was before his body endured nearly three more months of wear and tear.
“I’ll be able to rest for about a month before we go,” he said in March. “I hope I’m not dealing with any injuries or anything like that.”
That’s exactly what Curry, 28, is coping with as the Warriors pursue back-to-back championships. He tweaked his right ankle in Game 1 of the first round of the playoffs against Houston and sprained the medial collateral ligament (MCL) in his right knee in Game 4 of that series, an injury that sidelined him for two weeks.
Curry conceded last month that the knee injury likely would not completely heal until there was time to rest in the offseason.
As much as Curry would like to appear in The Games, he’s fully aware of the ongoing health-related concerns in Brazil, which is Ground Zero for the Zika virus epidemic.
With a season that began in September extending into June for the second consecutive year and so many bumps and bruises and worse piling up, Curry simply decided the risk of participating in the Olympics – as much as he’d like to chase a gold medal – is too great at this time.