Colangelo: Iverson wants to be part of U.S. team

Updated: January 5, 2006, 2:12 AM ET
Associated Press

PHOENIX -- Allen Iverson wants to be a part of the U.S. basketball team for the 2006 world championships and 2008 Olympics, USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo said.

Allen Iverson

Colangelo met with Iverson on Wednesday before the Philadelphia 76ers played the Phoenix Suns.

"He wants to win a gold medal," said Colangelo, the chairman and CEO of the Suns. "He said that very clearly. He said if asked, he would be honored."

Colangelo, solely in charge of developing the pool of players invited to the team's training camp, plans to meet later this week with Shaquille O'Neal, Dwyane Wade and Tim Duncan. The Suns host the Miami Heat on Friday night and the San Antonio Spurs on Saturday.

Colangelo said he had never spoken at length with Iverson and wondered how the talk would go.

"He looked me right in the eye and said it would be an honor for him," Colangelo said. "It was a very positive experience."

Iverson was co-captain and the leading scorer on the U.S. team that won the bronze medal at the 2004 Olympics in Athens.

"I want to play," Iverson said after Wednesday's game. "Obviously we didn't get it done the first time I was a part of that team. If God blesses me with another opportunity to try it, it would be an honor. I would have a second shot at fulfilling one of my goals."

Colangelo, named head of USA Basketball after the team's poor performances at the 2002 worlds and 2004 Olympics, has made it clear that the U.S. team would not be a collection of superstars hastily put together.

Instead, he wants a group, including role players, that would make a three-year commitment to participate in the camps and form a cohesive team for the worlds this year in Japan and the Olympics in Beijing.

Colangelo said he planned to announce the first batch of players for the camp by the NBA's All-Star break in mid-February.

Colangelo indicated that the Suns could have two players invited -- Shawn Marion and Amare Stoudemire. Colangelo called Marion "the most underrated player in the league." He also said that Stoudemire, out for at least four months following knee surgery, agreed to make the three-year commitment "about 30 seconds" into their conversation.

Duke's Mike Krzyzewski will be the team's head coach. His assistants are Suns coach Mike D'Antoni, Portland Trail Blazers coach Nate McMillan and Syracuse University coach Jim Boeheim.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press