Let’s be fair: by all accounts and omens, Team USA’s 2014 Men’s basketball team should be screwed.
First Blake Griffin and Kevin Love pass on playing (for injury and, well, basketball reasons respectively), then Paul George suffers one of the most gruesome leg injuries the league has ever seen (on live TV, no less), followed by Kevin Durant’s decision to back out for time off. On the surface, Team USA’s in trouble.
But when Nike Basketball invited VIBE and a few other writers to Chicago for this week’s World Basketball Festival, there was a sort of reassurance. For one, we were reminded that Cleveland's Kyrie Irving and New Orleans forward Anthony Davis are emerging stars who give NBA elders fits (at USA Men’s practice). Derrick Rose is Derrick Rose again, and he’ll be playing with the MVP like motivation to prove that to the world, and the FIBA teams are usually built based on the future anyway. So not having Griffin, George or Durant isn’t exactly the worst thing.
Especially when it means guys like James Harden get to fill a new role as the face of the national team. Seated in a private location of an old money hotel in Chicago, equipped with gold chandeliers, yet draped in team red and blue, Harden’s presence evoked a reassuring optimism. We spoke with the Houston Rockets star about leading Team USA, which rappers he’d want to be a part of the USA basketball family and more after the jump.
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