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.
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
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
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
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
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.