The United States men's basketball team claimed gold at the Rio Olympics last night after blowing out Serbia 96-66 to finish the job that many expected them to do in Brazil.
That is despite missing a plethora of NBA stars like LeBron James, Stephen Curry, Russell Westbrook, James Harden and many, many more.
One of those men was the Utah Jazz's Gordon Hayward. The forward declined an invite to participate for Team USA this summer and with the Olympics fresh in the memory, the 26-year-old has revealed exactly why he decided to stay at home.
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In a post on his official blog, Hayward said: "Making the decision to not join USA Basketball in Rio and represent my country in the Olympics was one of the most difficult choices I’ve ever had to make…. But I think ultimately for me, I wanted to be here with my family. It would have been too tough for me to make the choice to leave them, and play for Team USA at a time like this.
"I felt like being here with (his wife) Robyn and here for Robyn, and supporting her through these first few months with our second child, was important. Experiencing what goes on when you have a child, to me, outweighed the benefits of being an Olympian…."
The Indiana-native went on to say he felt he needed to concentrate on training this summer and getting ready for another big season next term. He hopes that down the road he will get another chance to play in the Olympics, but given the litany of great small forwards in the NBA, that's far from a given.
Carmelo Anthony has just announced his retirement from international play, so there might be a spot for Hayward in the future. However, LeBron has also insisted he would like to play for Gregg Popovich now that he is the coach of Team USA.
Hayward recorded an average of 19.7 points last season, but with Kevin Durant and Paul George part of the gold medal-winning team in Rio, and players like Kawhi Leonard also in the mix, the Jazz man better hope his training goes according to plan.