Leandro Barbosa’s return to the NBA finals has been eventful thus far, with the Golden State Warriors up 2-0 against the Cleveland Cavaliers. The “Brazilian Blur” has been brilliant off the bench, averaging 10 points per game while backing up superstar Stephen Curry. As the Finals shift to Cleveland, Curry confirmed that he wouldn’t be squaring off against Barbosa in the Olympics this summer.
“After a great deal of internal thought and several discussions with my family, the Warriors and my representatives, I’ve elected to withdraw my name from the list of eligible players on Team USA’s preliminary roster for the 2016 Summer Games in Brazil,” said Curry in a statement released by the Warriors on Monday.
Curry cited recent ankle and knee injuries as the reason for his withdrawal, joining LaMarcus Aldridge, Anthony Davis Blake Griffin, Chris Paul, and John Wall who will be skipping the Olympics due to recovery. According to Team USA chairman Jerry Colangelo, no players have withdrawn due to Brazil-related angst, leaving the team a healthy pool of talent that includes Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant, James Harden, LeBron James, and Russell Westbrook, among others.
Chicago Bulls center Pau Gasol has yet to commit to Team Spain, after expressing concern over the Zika virus in an editorial for El País.
“Are we taking the precautions that will guarantee the health and safety of fans, athletes, and other professionals who will travel to Rio, or are we putting financial concerns above the health of millions of people around the world?” Gasol wrote in the Spanish newspaper. “These Olympic Games, the first to be held in South America, could be unforgettable. The risk is that this could be for all the wrong reasons.”
Early rumblings suggest that James and Westbrook, along with Golden State’s Andre Iguodala, are considering withdrawing from the games because of the virus. The host squad, which could include Barbosa and fellow NBA ballers Bruno Caboclo, Cristiano Felicio, Marcelo Huertas, Nene, Raul Neto, Lucas Nogueira, Tiago Splitter, and Anderson Varejao, has yet to express similar concerns.