Connecticut Sun center Kelsey Bone says USA Basketball’s omission of Candace Parker from the Olympic Team is due to a “personality conflict” between her and coach Geno Auriemma:
“Women’s basketball and life in general is political. It’s about who you know. I get it. Great. Fine. Dandy,” Bone was saying Thursday at Mohegan Sun Arena. “But when you are talking about a player like Candace Parker and what she’s done for women’s basketball, the attention she’s brought to the game and the resume she has, you’d be hard pressed to find a reason not to put her on the Olympic team.”…..
“There is a personality conflict,” Bone said. “But they are there for a month. They’re not going be together for a whole season. (Auriemma) isn’t going to coach her for the next 10 years of her career. We’re trying to win a gold medal for a couple of weeks. But, yes, I do think there’s a personality conflict.”
Now comes Bone’s true bone of contention: Why do personality conflicts appear to affect women’s basketball more than men’s basketball? As Auriemma has said many times: Women’s basketball’s biggest issue is that everyone has to be lovey-dovey all the time.
“In my opinion, in my small little bubble, it’s a part of what’s hindering our game from making the jump to mainstream. It’s not always about who’s the best player. It’s not always about who plays the best basketball. A lot of times it’s about who likes you and who doesn’t. And that’s only with women,” Bone said.
“DeMarcus Cousins is the best post player in the (NBA) right now. His attitude is not always the best. But I think he might be in Rio. It’s about putting the best players on the floor to win. We’re going to win regardless. The rest of the world is afraid of us. When they see those three letters across our chest, there’s a dominance that goes with being on Team USA.
“But the message you send to other young players is that you can work your ass off your whole career and if somebody doesn’t like you, it means nothing. When (Auriemma) has had his issues with other coaches, he has said ‘we don’t have to all be friends. We don’t have to all sing ‘Kumbaya.’ Which is true. At the end of the day, we’re talking about adults. No one is going to the Olympics with USA Basketball and just be an ass.
“Candace does have a very big personality. But at the end of the day, why is it only in the women’s game does that matter? You can say it’s her reputation. You can say a lot of things. But all of those things have been there. There’s not anything new that wasn’t there in 2012 when she was the MVP in London.”