August 9 - Quit That George Mikan Sh*t
Well... we didn't lose.
The US basketball team, coming together for an Olympic-style tournament in
Asia, snuck past Brazil's national team by a mere 4 points this morning. It wasn't
always like that.
Ever since we started sending pros in 1992 (after the Soviets began to beat our
college all stars), we stomped the world like they had WELCOME written across
their face. We had 10 years where we ran the basketball world like a dangerous
Who can forget Charles Barkley elbowing that Angolan guy? Wasn't it fun seeing
Larry Legend throwing passes to Magic? I've been watching basketball my whole life, and I've never
seen anyone dunked on harder than the s*itting-on Frederic Weis took from Vince Carter... who
actually jumped OVER the 6'10" Frenchman to hammer down a dunk with such force that
Indonesians began to evacuate coastal regions.
It was bullying, but it was kind of cute. Watching some Thailand guy looking up at Shaq in the middle
of the game is funny. Seeing a Serb- who was supposed to be playing defense- screaming into the
stands for his mother to get a picture of him guarding Michael Jordan is hilarious. I would have done
the same thing, which was a great part of the appeal it held for me.
Lithuania gave us a scare once, but we took gold in 1992, 1996, and 2000. Besides only losing 2
(1972 and 1988) with kids, we won every other basketball gold medal... ever.
The other teams, to their credit, fiended for a shot at the Dream Teams. They grew a big collective
pair, and they were stepping up to the next level. You have to do that to get better, and basketball is
popular like soccer in many parts of the world now.
If you want to be the Man, you gotta beat the Man. It was all just concept and cliche' until they started
actually beating the Man in 2004.
These beatings were ugly... losses to Italy, Puerto Rico, Lithuania, and Argentina look pretty bad on a
Dream Team resume. We invented this game, and we play it with a unique style. From 2004 until we
Gold Medal(v) again, our style is inferior... at least in that goofy FIBA game with the strange rules and
the trapezoid lane.
We should have exerted more influence, and not allowed the Europeans to alter the basic game so
much. The Olympic games are basically designed for a 6'10" Nowitzki type to shoot 20 footers- sort of
like the college game here, but worse. There is simply no way for a center to post up down low, catch
the ball, and spin into the lane for a dunk.
The US game, once thus divided, cannot stand against itself. All those 6'8" dunkers aren't really nice
jump shooters, and the US offense can be pretty much bedazzled by sticking two guys down low
while the other three chase shooters on the perimeter.
This leads to jump shooting contests, as well as to absolute yawners as far as
the game goes. I coached for a few years, and I love a screen as much as the
next clipboard crusher... but the reason they sell so many jerseys is the inside
game- either a huge center or a wing player taking it hard to the hole. You just
don't see that in these games, and American viewers suffer in more ways than at
the medals podium.
The Americans need the next Larry Bird, a 6'10" guy who can flat out shoot the
ball. The NBA has plenty of players like that... they're named Peja and Nowitzki,
and they don't play for us when the Olympics come around.
I see two ways of solving this:
1) Require NBA players to become US citizens before they sign contracts- nothing more than what we
should be asking of any migrant lettuce picker who is doing much harder work here for a lot less
money. No need for our luxury boxes to be building the next Red Army somewhere..
2) Somebody changes their style of play.
The Europeans and the others are going to resist this, but they need to start playing the game the
right way, as 2004 loser Larry Brown says. The game was invented here, and we've had the most
time to fiddle with it... we know what's best for it. It's our baby.
They need to get a proper lane, learn how to dunk, and stop playing that sissy-ass college game.
They'll be better for it in the long run, and they might not hate our game so much once they start
playing it properly. They should be booking the Globetrotters more, just to get their heads on straight.
No wonder we win all their wars.
If they refuse, we should force them to change soccer. We should do it anyhow, just to remind them
who won the Cold War.