“Navarro is Spain’s Michael Jordan”

As Team USA’s debacle at the 2023 World Cup comes to an end, opinions continue to emerge regarding Team USA’s players, their roles in the tournament, and most recently, the Paris Olympics. One of the most notable was JJ Redick’s talk on his famous podcast “The Old Man and Three Things.” The former NBA player used the space to reflect extensively on stars from other national teams and the differences in their roles compared to Team USA.

Here is the complete snippet:

“There was a lot of talk on Twitter about beating up our kids. Coach K said at the time, I don’t remember which specific player he was referring to, some players became Michael Jordan when they played for the national team.

Think Luis Scola. Very good NBA player…incredible for Argentina. Evan Fournier, a very good NBA player for several years. In the last World Cup and Olympic Games, Michael Jordan represented the French team. Patty Mills is a little older and has killed us many times in the past. 28 points, 32 points… Patty became Jordan. This year it’s Dennis Schroeder. Let’s go back to Spain. Rudy Fernández, a solid player in the NBA. Juan Carlos Navarro, he only came to the United States for a year and I was a rookie. He averaged 11 points per game for Memphis and was a very good player. He went and played for Spain and he was Michael Jordan.

All of this makes me understand why it is so ridiculous to criticize our players. Think about the humanity of this. You have a role in the Nets, you have a role in the Pacers, you have a role in the Wolves, you have a role in the Knicks. No matter what that role is, you are the star. You have the ball in your hands, they call the game for you, and you call the offense. We ask you to sacrifice that (with Team USA).

Now, turn the tables. You’re the backup point guard, you’re the shooter, you’re the catch-and-shoot guy, and you’re going to play 2×2 with Julius Randle. Now, you have entered the national team. We’ll fight every round for you.

Who do you think is most interested in their role? A boy who improves his role, or a boy who weakens his role? That’s not to say they didn’t embrace it. I’m just saying that’s human nature, you’re not going to be yourself in that gear. It’s very complicated”

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