How Olympic athletes are selected [basketball vs. other sports]

More specifically, I’m looking at the Men’s basketball team. Was it just Mike Krzyzewski saying “you, you, and you. Congrats! You’re in the Olympics!”
Were there qualifiers? If not, how many other sports have a “pick your team and you’re in” selection system rather than prelims?

ETA: I’m not a caveman. There should be some verb of some kind in the title.

There’ve been a ton of stories about the US 1992 Olympic Dream Team – claims that in order to recruit Michael Jordan, they let him pick the other team members. A variation of the claim is that he had veto power over the coach’s pick.

Moved to The Game Room, edited the thread title to include basketball and a verb.

Thanks for the verb edit Marley. Though I was more generally looking at all sports trying to figure out if basketball was an anamoly in its selection process.

Yes. Apart from Great Britain as the host nation, each of the others officially qualified for the Olympics on the strength of placement in FIBA tournaments over the last couple years.

The rosters of international teams are normally chosen by the respective governing bodies of the sport in each country. In the case of basketball in the USA, it is USA Basketball.

There’s a committee, which includes but isn’t limited to the coaching staff. USA Basketball has a board of directors with representatives from the NBA and NCAA, headed by Jerry Colangelo, the former owner of the Phoenix Suns and a respected personnel guy.

The way the team gets picked is that the committee puts together a pool of worthy players – say 30 or so – and that’s the official roster for about a three year period, leading up to the world championships and then clear through to the Olympics, so there’s some continuity and familiarity. For every actual competition, depending on injuries and how the team has been practicing and who the coaching staff thinks looks good and whatever else is going on, the twelve-person active roster, which you have to register according to that competition’s rules, is picked from that pool. For the Olympics I think USA Basketball technically only nominates the players, and the USA Olympic Committee or whatever it’s called actually does the official choosing. There’s also a separate team, the Select team, the purpose of which is to have people around to practice against the active USA team; the Select team has tended to be made up of younger guys who haven’t really established themselves yet but who the coaching staff wants to take a look at for future competitions.

As far as whether basketball is an anomaly or not, it isn’t. It is a team sport, though, which means there can’t be an automatic qualifying process, which does make it a lot different from a lot of sports. You can’t just have everybody play each other one on one and take the twelve guys who win, so there’s a lot more subjectivity than there is in track and field or something. But the process for soccer or hockey or gymnastics is pretty similar.

Pretty much EVERYBODY involved with the team will tell you candidly that Michael Jordan was THE one and only reason that Isiah Thomas wasn’t chosen as starting point guard for the Dream Team.

The team’s coach was Chuck Daly, Thomas’ coach with the Detroit Pistons. Even Daly preferred to dump his own best player, to keep Jordan happy.

Didn’t Magic come out and say recently that is was near unanimous that nobody wanted to play with him, not just Jordan?

In the US gymnastics system, the only athletes who qualified automatically to the Olympic team were the #1 woman and #1 & 2 men at Trials. The remainder of the team is selected by the team coordinators.

I have not cite for it, but as someone from the Detroit area, it was perspective around here. It was shocking that Thomas did not make the team.

I did, however, think Magic Johnson was good friends with Thomas. Remember how they used to kiss each other’s cheeks?

They were friends but that friendship soured. I think it had to do with some comments Thomas made after Magic’s HIV diagnosis.

It seemed to me, and a lot of people, that Thomas thought he was on par with Magic and tried to replicate his success on the court, in business, in basketball after the playing days were over and in the bedroom. Thomas couldn’t match him in any of those areas. Stuff like that leads to resentment, poorly worded comments and fractured friendships.

Now Magic is a billionaire celebrity and Thomas is radioactive.

It’d be worth it if he had laser eyes.