so the men's olympic basketball team apparently just isn't any good. and if you believe the zillion of sports columnists out there, it's because the NBA players are simply just a bunch of lazy self serving egomaniacial a-holes. i've seen a little credit given to the international teams in terms of their effort and all of that, but for the most part, the typical stance is to excoriate the team usa. before i get into the main point of this entry, i'd also just like admit freely that i'm one of those people. as far as i'm concerned, even if the men end up winning the gold medal, i don't think that any of the players on the team should be let back into the country for embarrasing our great country like that. i would actually advocate that they be thrown into abu gharib prison so that they can learn to appreciate how good they have it.
anyways, that being said, i'm going to put out some good old day syndrome coupled with some shock value, but i'll tell you exactly why today's men's basketball team is nothing like the 92, 96, or 2000 team. very simply, the other teams are better at this particular sport. i'll let that sink in for a while before i explain. i'll admit, it's quite a shocking statement, but i really do think that it is undeniably true.
now when i say this, i don't mean that i think that joe butthead from greece is a better player than amare stoudemire or tim duncan. obviously, both americans are literally head and shoulders better than anyone else that resides outside the us. what i do mean is that international basketball does not even remotely resemble nba basketball. as my friend fredo astutely pointed out, the reliance on zone defenses, the jump shot, the rules that dictate contact, etc, make international basketball closer to soccer than basketball as we know it. we could argue on and on about why this has happened, but the fact is, the nba is about getting your own shot off, while international ball is about not being athletic. and if you think about it, it makes complete sense. of course the rules of international play do not favor the more athletic, otherwise, the international teams would have zero chance to beat the us. anyways, in years past, the us has been able to compensate with the gigantic gap in usual basketball ability, shooting, passing, jumping, playing defense, etc. however, the world has obviously caught up in the fundamentals so the international rules which favor these things over athleticism.
don't get me wrong, i don't think that there's an international conspiracy aimed at bringing down usa basketball. i'm also not saying that the committee did not do a terrible job of selecting the team. they did, we definitely need more shooters. lastly, i am most certainly not absolving those players who declined invitations to play in the olympics. next time you start to say that kevin garnett is all about winning and being a team player, just remember that the ultimate embodiment of the the true spirit of competition came knocking at his door and he told it to go to hell. same goes for shaq, mcgrady and ben wallace, who is supposed to be the ultimate team guy on the championship piston team. great rebounder and shot blocker, but no less of a me first guy than kobe.
what i am trying to say, is that all of the outrage directed towards the us team is not only misdirected, but it is also blatantly racist (big surprise coming from me huh?). why are we so outraged that the men's team would lose a sport where the competition clearly has all kinds of advantages over our team. are we outraged that the men's baseball team didn't even qualify for the olympics? are we outraged that the women's gymnastics team despite being heavily favored ended up winning the silver? why are we not indignant that michael phelps did not win every event he swam in. the obvious and only answer is race.
this case is a rare example where the failure of the us men's basketball teams not only plays into our worst stereotypes about black men being lazy, selfish, and unmotivated, but it also violates our most sacred stereotypes about black people, that they are the greatest athletes in the world which justifies the commodification and exploitation of black people in the world of american sports. in other words a very racist ideaology manifests itself as it sickens americans to think that black folks can't seem to do the only thing that they are supposedly good at. like i said before, this argument is wholly without merit in the same way the argument that shaq kobe and a bunch of guys who couldn't start on half the teams in the nba could beat a team of superior athletes and basketball players from detroit. remember kids, heart has almost nothing to do with the outcome of sports. the reason the us team is losing is because we don't know how to play international basketball which although bears a passing resemblance to the ball we play here in the states, is actually a completely different game.
proving this is actually pretty simple. if euros or puerto ricans or chinese people were really this good at basketball they'd be overrunning the nba, and despite the growing number of foreign born players in the nba, it is dominated by americans.
anyways, i have more to write, but i've been at starbucks long enough and i need to get the car back to my mom. for those of you who don't know, i'm in texas for the first leg of my "bob across america" tour. my mom's phone line is on the fritz, so i had to pay t mobile 30 bucks for internet access at any starbucks across the country for the next month. anyways, i'll try to blog as much as i can, but obviously, i'll be limited by my ability to get to a t mobile hotspot.