How can Daly explain Olympic committee's disregard of Pistons?


DETROIT -- Chuck Daly wasn't home yesterday.

He was off in search of anonymity. Hiding, really. Away from the questions he knew would come.

If you are the coach of the U.S. Olympic basketball team, what do you tell players who have helped you win a couple of NBA championships when none of them are invited to go with you to Barcelona, Spain?

That is Daly's problem.

That is why he was flying away from home, to a few days of solitude, the day USA Today revealed that the Olympic selection subcommittee had sent letters inviting 10 NBA players to represent the United States next summer in Barcelona.

Magic Johnson and Patrick Ewing have already said they would -- if invited -- accept the invitations. Each told Daly during the regular season that he would be delighted to play in the Olympics.

The selection committee is still waiting to hear from the other eight: Charles Barkley, Scottie Pippen, Michael Jordan, Chris Mullin, John Stockton, Larry Bird, Karl Malone and David Robinson.

Did you say: Where's Isiah Thomas?

Did you say: Where's Joe Dumars?

Chuck Daly, says that, too, as a matter of fact.

Daly has access to the committee members and has been allowed to lobby for the players he prefers. He has lobbied for some of his Pistons. He has made a case for Thomas and Dumars, and perhaps has even tried to justify the selection of Dennis Rodman. But Rodman's defensive brilliance was overshadowed by some irresponsible roughhouse play late in the season, which ended any chance he had of being selected.

All three Pistons have told Daly they would like to be on the team.

And Daly has told the selection committee that the absence of a Piston on the Olympic invitation list presents a potential problem for him in the upcoming NBA season.

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