Before they were perennial all stars and and household names, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson were international basketball champions. As members of Team USA, the Splash Brothers beat Serbia in the final World Basketball match at the Palacio de los Deportes stadium in Madrid, Spain, in 2014. (Daniel Ochoa de Olza/AP)

Curry decides NBA legacy trumps quest for gold medal

The Greatest Basketball Player on Earth will not be representing the United States this summer in the 2016 Summer Games in Rio De Janeiro.

Stephen Curry said Monday that he recently informed USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo of his decision.

“Due to several factors — including recent ankle and knee injuries — I believe this is the best decision for me at this stage of my career,” the unanimous MVP said in a statement. “It’s an incredible honor to represent your country and wear ‘USA’ on your chest, but my primary basketball-related objective this summer needs to focus on my body and getting ready for the 2016-17 NBA season.”

Colangelo said he was disappointed Curry wouldn’t be playing, but that he ultimately understood his decision.

“Steph has always represented his country in an exemplary manner, and we are sorry that he won’t be able to be with us this summer,” Colangelo told The Associated Press.

Curry wants to be the best player in NBA history, and it goes without saying that he needs his health to achieve that goal. If he thinks putting extra mileage on this summer would be a detriment, then I’m apt to believe him, because he habitually underplays his ailments.

Slamming Curry for this decision would be foolish at best. Winning in the international game is a great footnote.

It’s expected for Team USA to win the gold medal, and we never talk about Michael Jordan for being the greatest of all time because he was on the Dream Team. He’s the GOAT because he won NBA titles. Steph understands this and he’s pursuing it in his own way.

Good for Curry for understanding his own physical limitations and ensuring he’s available to play for only the most important games.

Besides, Warriors fans will still have a reason to buy a Team USA jersey as fellow Splash Brother Klay Thompson told The Undefeated he would like to be considered for a roster spot.

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