By Brandon Pope | BSU at the Games
After a slew of injuries, the current Team USA men’s basketball roster includes only one healthy center in Tyson Chandler.
But 7-foot-2 center from the Indiana Pacers, Roy Hibbert, wants to provide the Americans with an assist in the post.
Reports have surfaced that the NBA star wants to play for Team USA, and recent media attention appears to confirm the desire.
In an interview with The Jamaica Gleaner’s Robert Bailey, Jamaica Basketball Association President Ajani Williams said Hibbert has asked to be released from the Jamaican National Team.
Hibbert was born in Queens, N.Y., to a Jamaican father and a Trinidadian mother, and he made his first appearance with the Jamaican national team in 2008.
Hibbert is making the switch “in order to become eligible to play for the United States in this Summer’s Olympic Games.”
But making such a switch won’t be an easy process for the 25-year-old all-star.
In the way of Hibbert joining Team USA are compliance issues between USA Basketball and the world governing body FIBA. Both sides must work things out before Hibbert can join the team at training camp in Las Vegas starting July 6.
“Our simple response was that we can’t just handle this matter from JaBA to the player or from JaBA to the agent, and so on, it has to be from JaBA to the USA Basketball Federation,” Williams said to The Jamaica Gleaner. “The United States Federation would need to write us and state that they want this player, and at that point JaBA can speak directly to the federation and FIBA, based on the player transferring from one national team to another.”
However, the Jamaicans aren’t too fond of the idea of letting the young star go. Hibbert is undoubtedly the squad’s best player. Losing him to the Americans would be a major blow to Jamaica’s team.
“JaBA just can’t just release him because there was a cost that goes into getting Roy Hibbert. We paid a lot of money for NBA insurance for him,” Williams said. “We also did a lot of things around him, and so there are going to be several considerations before JaBA releases him.”
Hibbert and the Pacers return to action tonight in the NBA Playoffs vs. Miami. Game 6 tip is at 7 p.m. in Indianapolis.
Brandon Pope is a sophomore telecommunications and journalism major at Ball State University covering fencing, volleyball and basketball for BSU at the Games. Follow Brandon and the BSU team at @bpopeizdope, @bsuatthegames and www.facebook.com/bsuatthegames.