USA Basketball: Is This Their Year?
July 24, 2008
In past years, USA basketball has come into big competitions with high expectations, and after “shockingly” being beaten by teams that trained together the entire year for these moments, one might wonder if they are destined to lose unless they play with a team’s mentality. Can this country, blessed with the most talented basketball players the world has to offer, ever assemble a group of ball-players to compare with Jordan’s historic 1992 Barcelona squad? Is this Coach K’s year to make a gold medal team? Can America put aside its troubles and rivalries, and instead of playing for themselves, play for the world? Is this their year? All signs point yes, but what do I think? No. And I’ll tell you why.
In today’s basketball, more and more of our best players are assembling overseas, and less are developing in America. Our young american players grow up under a coach’s eye, each and every one of them with tremendous talent, but most totally uncoachable. And this is the exact opposite over in Europe, with great, coachable team player being mass produced like Toyota Prius’s. So unless America can get it together NOW and play for the common prize, a gold medal (which I don’t think is going to happen this year), our future looks dim.
In contrast, the 1992 team consisting of the NBA’s legends who united once a year to play together as one, were much like Europe’s players today, but much more talented. Led by Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, and Charles Barkley, that team had depth too, their entire bench hand-picked from the nba’s greatest role players. Jordan, among his teammates, sacrificed points for assists (he rarely posted over 18 points in a game), and the team excelled more than any USA team could wish to do today (or ever again). My point is, unless the US can take away their star power and ego, we’re not going anywhere in the olympics. Do I think we can do it this year? Yes. Will we do it this year? No.