Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates –
ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) – Tyronn Lue has waited a long time for this trip.
In 1997 it was destined to bear the logo of the United States of America. When he was a guard at the University of Nebraska he was selected to represent his country at the U20 World Championship in Australia.
But due to a severe leg injury, which left him numb and unable to even climb stairs without falling, he was forced out and sent home.
26 years later, Lue, as coach of the Los Angeles Clippers, would take the country’s logo outside the United States. It’s not a jersey, but a polo shirt from the part of the staff that will guide the team at the Basketball World Cup this month.
“I think it’s an honor,” Lue said. “You grow up watching basketball, watching the Olympics, the dream teams, you always want to play for those teams. I wasn’t that good, but to get a chance to represent my country like this is amazing.”
Golden State coach Steve Kerr will lead the team, with Miami’s Erik Spoelstra and Gonzaga’s Mark Few Lue as assistants. They also have former NBA coach Jeff Van Gundy as a scout and included Orlando’s Jamahl Mosley at the start of training camp in Las Vegas as coach of a select group selected to face the team in practices.
“We know we have an incredible coaching group,” said Milwaukee Bucks forward Bobby Portis.
There is a certain irony in the situation for Lue, who was replaced as a player 26 years ago – and has now joined the team as another replacement. Lue was initially chosen by general manager Grant Hill to coach the selected team, but when Montee Williams had to step down due to family responsibilities, Lue was asked to join the coaching staff.
“Monty had this position and Steve and Grant called me right away and said ‘Would you like to be a part of this?'” Lew recalled. “I said to him, ‘Are you serious?’ It’s a dream come true”.
This is the latest chapter in his upcoming book detailing his life in basketball; One is in the process of writing. He was part of two championship teams early in his career with the Los Angeles Lakers and led the Cleveland Cavaliers to the title in 2016.
He has played or coached with the greatest players of all time—Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal, Jason Kidd, Dirk Nowitzki, Kawhi Leonard, LeBron James, and others. And now, finally, he will have the opportunity to win gold with his country.