By Beth Harris
AP Sports Writer
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — Los Angeles Clippers star Blake Griffin’s chance of participating in the Rio Olympics hasn’t been jeopardized by his injuries or his suspension for punching a team staff member.
USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo declined to discuss specific NBA players when asked about Griffin’s status on Wednesday.
“I don’t judge people based on that,” he said at the U.S. Olympic media summit, noting many NBA players are “pretty young guys” who sometimes make poor decisions. “We don’t have any issues with any of our players as far as personal conduct.”
The Clippers condemned Griffin’s behavior while suspending him four games and docking him five games’ pay totaling $859,442 for his altercation with the team’s assistant equipment manager at a Toronto restaurant on Jan. 23. The forward is recovering from a broken hand. Griffin had been out since Dec. 26 with a partially torn left quadriceps tendon when the punch-out occurred.
Colangelo said a player’s past performance, his physical conditioning and how he’s performed during the current season would be taken into consideration when selecting the 12-man team from June 26-28.
The team will open a week-long training camp in Las Vegas on July 17, culminating with a game. They will play exhibitions in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago and Houston before departing from there for Rio.
The status of Monty Williams as an assistant coach on the national team is uncertain after the death of his wife in a car accident last month. Ingrid Williams died from injuries suffered after her car was struck by another vehicle whose driver also died. The accident left Williams, an assistant coach for the Oklahoma City Thunder, as a single dad to the couple’s four young children.
Colangelo, who attended Ingrid Williams’ funeral, said he’s deliberately chosen not to discuss the Olympics with Williams.
“I’m not sure what he’s going to do,” he said. “I think that’s going to be a family decision. He went right back to work, which is probably the best thing he could have done after the funeral. You can’t sit around and just let your mind just work on you. We’ll be fine either way, whatever he wants to do.”