On Monday, the 44-man preliminary roster for the men's Team USA squad for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics was announced. The Bulls were not represented, with Zach LaVine being the team's only veritable snub.
Here's a look at the full roster, per Marc Stein of the New York Times:
Stephen Curry, Anthony Davis, Kevin Durant, Paul George, Kyrie Irving, LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard, Damian Lillard and Klay Thompson -- they're all on the @usabasketball 44-man preliminary roster for the Tokyo Olympics just officially announced ... pic.twitter.com/Y6RzKfJer4
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) February 10, 2020
By my count, players from 21 different teams inhabit that group, leaving the Bulls in the company of the Knicks, Pistons, Hornets, Hawks, Magic, Mavericks, Grizzlies and Timberwolves as teams without representation. Per Stein, USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo told the Times last month that the preliminary roster "features virtually every top American name available."
Thus, the absence of LaVine is noteworthy. Amidst an underwhelming season for the Bulls at large, LaVine is enjoying the best campaign of his career - but despite evidence that respect for him throughout the league is growing, not being selected as an All-Star reserve last month (in the spirit of objectivity, a completely justifiable call) showed that there's another level he must reach to be widely considered a true superstar of the league.
On the surface, his omission from the Team USA roster feels another indication of that dynamic, though it's always possible he declined an invite (he's done so in similar circumstances before, and every player on the roster has international experience). And it's hard to get too worked up: His chances of cracking the eventual 12-man final roster would have been undeniably slim.
Still, even seeing the Bulls flirt with being represented on such a grand stage would have been a boost. Alas.
Zach LaVine left off preliminary Team USA roster for 2020 Tokyo Olympics originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago