Posts Tagged ‘Olympics’

Team Redeemed

August 24, 2008

I joyfully (and perhaps intoxicatedly) stayed up until 3:30 last night to watch the conclusion of Olympic basketball and a pretty good game against a Spanish team that I knew would be tougher this time around. I can’t help but enjoy and identify with this Team USA, even though they feature several players I dislike (mostly Kobe, but in lesser parts Carmelo and J-Kidd.) I’ll admit that its partly a naive  identifying of all USA teams with the original Dream Team, but I counter that with the fact that I always root for the men’s basketball team, even when it featured AI and Starbury. I just love basketball and I also love the USA.

Why do I make such hay explaining myself? Mostly because of this Slate article, explaining how The Redeem Team is being trademarked and we’re all dupes of NBA marketing. Even though I can agree with many of the points made, I reject the cynicism that would throw out what they accomplished with the bathwater. Yes, of course, the team’s image is micromanaged to ridiculous lengths. I will never believe Kobe to be a good guy, no matter how hard he tries. J-Kidd is no legendary team player, despite the great passes. And Lebron (glorious as it is to watch him play), only allows tiny parts of his supposedly great personality to eke out, as mandated by his handlers.

But if you just watched the games you would know that this team played its ass off and played as intelligently and as unselfishly as any Olympic team has. You can’t fault them for that, and I for one found myself impressed with their discipline and team play (especially Kobe, who pretty much saved the last night’s game). This post on TrueHoop (about the players support of Darfur-related causes and Jerry Colangelo asking them to put aside non-basketball concerns) probably does the best job explaining the fine line these guys walked, and while it sucks to see that they were eventually dissuaded from being more vocal, I’m happy to see that they actually cared in the first place. This reverses my cynical feelings about Lebron that I harbored after hearing he wouldn’t sign Ira Newble’s petition to the Chinese government.

So mark me down as a believer in the “redeem team.” Just not a dupe of The Redeem Team (Patent Pending).

Olympic Thoughts

August 11, 2008

I wanted to open up a thread to solicit thoughts and impressions of Olympic ball so far. As far as the US is concerned, I missed the China game this weekend, but based on the exhibitions I saw, I can only echo what everyone else is saying: Chris Paul should really start over Kidd.

I did, however, happen to be passing out Saturday night when the Greece-Spain game was playing live, and that was as hard-nosed an international game as I have ever seen. I knew Greece was a tough team, but I hadn’t realized how much the Spainards had improved. I guess I should have noticed when the won the ’06 World Championships, but this ’08 team, with vets like Gasol and Calderon and young guns like Rudy Fernandez,  are very deep and athletic. I was most impressed with Fernandez. He was flying all over the place. His defense may be a liability in the NBA, but I think the Blazers are getting a great player.

Anyway, I welcome all comments and additions concerning the Olympics, particularly how you feel the US is doing.

Throwdown with Carmelo Anthony

July 22, 2008

Just in time for Team USA’s ramp-up to Beijing, I got around to digging this up out of my photo archives. It’s from a qualifying tournament for FIBA Americas held in Las Vegas in the fall of 2008.

You also gotta see the guy he’s dunking on for Argentina, on the left, with The Moustache. Easily my favorite player for the Argentines, he was straight out of Prefontaine. If you can’t see it on this version, click through to Flickr for higher-res.