Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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Basketball in Athens

A reader, Kevin, had a rational response to my irrational outburst (with the Poet’s help) regarding our BBall team’s performance in Athens:

"Re-USA Basketball Wow. I am detecting somewhat of a tongue in cheek post here. Pretty good, but I think that your ire is misplaced. This team was constructed on a flawed premise. The most talented players should not have been selected. The players whose game most suits international play (which is very different from NBA play) should have been selected. The A-list stars (and their versatility) declined to attend, as is their right. The B-list stars (and their lack of versatility) stepped into the breach, but they just don’t understand the international game. Better to be upset with the selection process than the players. The players are doing the best they can with the tools they have. The just don’t have the right tools."

Discussions - 10 Comments

I rule. :)

Granted the International game is much different, but what accounts for the complete dominance of men’s basketball by the US since the introduction of the first Dream Team in 1992? They had to play under the same rules.

I echo Mr. Driscoll’s comments. This is an embarrasment on a couple of counts. One -- we should dominate this game. There is absolutely no excuse for a loss. International basketball may have some nuances, however they should not be obstacles to the imperalist domination of a sport that we invented. Each of these players should be remembered as a player that was beaten by Puerto Rico.

Which brings me to my next point. We own Puerto Rico. Shouldn’t they have played the part of patsy for us? Congress should review funding of the Puerto Rico-an Olympic team.


Actually both the selection of players and their attitude are issues. They’re poorly selected and none of them can shoot consistently from outside, allowing a bunch of tiny foreigners to crowd the only A-list player on the USA team, Tim Duncan. While that isn’t their fault, they should be embarrassed by their performance because they’re playing on behalf of a country that gives them absurdly high salaries for putting a rubber ball through a hoop. They should be inspired by the examples of the ancient Athenians and Spartans (if they’ve heard of them) who would prefer death to dishonor at the Games.

Rob-The rest of the world has gotten better. Most all other teams in the tournament are sporting NBA all-star caliber players. That wasn’t true 12 years ago.

D-Held-The country isn’t paying these players, the free-market system is. An important distinction, I think.

John- It’s more than nuances. The game is different, is refereed different, and other countries build teams based on these differences.

You guys are all correct(not that you need me to tell you) we should be winning every game handily. But right now, we are asking this group of guys to play outside of themselves. They are a perfect blend to play a tournament at Rucker Park. In Athens, they may as well be on Mars. For the US, this is an embarrassment. For these guys personally, if they medal at all they will have accomplished something-teamwork.

I am not buying the entire hubbub about how the rest of the world has gotten better, nor the argument that the Team USA does not have a pure shooter.

Sorry, but the problem is attitude. Look at the whiners on this team, including perhaps the most ungrateful player to ever play the game Allen Iverson. "We’re talking about practice, man?"

Few, if any, of these players would know how to even spell team, even if you spotted them all four letters. They are a disgrace to Team USA and the proud tradition it has built. Unfortunately, I see this has a prevailing problem throughout the states. The difference is they get to showcase their tremendous lack pride and honor of representing America on tv.

I do not think Professor Schramm was being hard enough on them, and it was a nice touch by the way.

Back to the two main premises: the rest of the world has gotten better and not having a pure shooter. Certainly, the rest of the world is getting better. However, that does not mean we have not improved. As for the pure shooter, a team with that much talent on it does not need a pure shooter. They should never have to shoot from beyond five feet. One last point the selection of the players is where the flaw is. They should have to earn their spot. Whoever came up with the brilliance that is putting Allen Iverson on a team coached by Larry Brown should be immediately replaced by someone who has common sense.

It is time for Americans to start returning to the ideas that made us great. Not sit around and concede the rest of the world is catching up with us. What is so wrong about being miles ahead? Are we really so apathetic to our greatness as to concede that greatness as something we cannot maintain? I certainly hope not.

I’m not sure why I can’t let this go, but.....I can’t. E Michael- They aren’t getting the inside shots because the zone defense is legal in international play. Zones are outlawed in the NBA, thereby creating the one-on-one game that these players have learned to excel in. I watched the game against Greece. Lamar Odom did the USA proud. Sure, they still aren’t shooting, and the US should and will(I believe) once again put teams together that dominate this tournament. Meantime, the current roster is in a no-win situation that was not of their choosing. They are there playing, and playing the best they know how. My mantra is still- the way they know how is too easily defensed in international play.

Kevin: Zones are not outlawed in the NBA. Everyone knows there are two ways to beat a zone: 1. Rapid ball movement. 2. Flood one side and create a mismatch. Either way, a pure shooter is not necessary. Bottom line is we would be better off if there were college kids playing on this team as well as pros. Most of the pro players on this team are terrible. Lamar Odom is what 20? And he has already been on seven teams, okay that is a bit of imagination; but you get the picture. This is a terrible TEAM, but with a lot of talent. We do not have to have O’Neal, Bryant, et al., to be successful. There are plenty of good players who can function as a team that would blow out Puerto Rico and Greece everyday of the week and twice on Sunday. Start looking at what some NBA teams are doing such as: Sacramento, Dallas and a few others are starting to get the point. It takes a team of players who can use their individual talents to mesh cohesively with the others to become successful.

This is why I agree with you on the selection process. Rather than earning a spot these players simply made the team by merit, according to what standards is up in the air. The players need to earn their way on to the team, not be selected.

Believe it isn’t the zone defense, its the attitude of the players and most of these players are crybabies at heart.

Attitude was not a problem last night. I also disagree with the crybaby issue. Totally agree on the selection process. It’s almost like it was done based on whose USA Jersey would have the biggest sales.
The zone defense rules in the NBA are complicated, but zone defense as it is played in the international game is against the rules in the NBA. I stand by that.

I can amend the attitude statement a little. That is to say, any team that has Allen Iverson and Stephon Marbury on it is headed for disaster. Iverson alone can bring any team down. Don’t believe me watch him play. How does he incorporate his teammates into the game? There are some solid players on this team and Iverson’s attitude alone is destroying it.

This does not even mention that there are some decent shooters on this team if they are used right, including Iverson.

All I am saying is that the attitude of this team revolves around Iverson, and this odes not bode well for them. They may be successful in terms of victories, but not in terms of dominance. This is unfortunate because they are talented enough that no team should be within ten points of them. Let alone beat them by 19.

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