U.S. Basketball is Not Looking Dreamy

You know what? I must be dreaming, because I cannot believe this situation. In fact, I’m sick of it. And quite frankly, I’ve heard enough. If I never hear it again, it would be too soon. But seeing as we are only approaching the end of the beginning, I’m sure to hear much more of, “U.S. Basketball is not the favorite to win the World Championships.” Well ain’t that about a b****! I was only 8 when the original, and the only, Dream Team was formed, but I remember the sense of pride that team gave America as it went out and dominated every game from the start of the Olympics to the Gold Medal Presentation. So somebody explain to me why we have fallen so far from the ambassadors of basketball, to not even being the favorite to win our own sport! I mean let’s be honest, the claim that the U.S. is not the favorite to win a basketball tournament is the equivalent of Brazil not being the favorite to win a soccer game.

After yesterday’s near escape of a Brazilian team with an NBA prevalent backcourt, I am forced to resurface my doubts that I mistakably held back after the ‘s blowouts of and
Puerto Rico
(the latter being a win I was not very unimpressed by). The first doubt being whether or not we have our best players on this team. Yes, I know, not everybody is down for the cause anymore, but I still think the pool of people to choose from is much better than our resulting team shows. I mean correct me if I am wrong, but one of our top 3 problems from the Olympics was that we did not have any outside shooting. Well then explain to me why Michael Redd and Ray Allen are not on this team. I will let the U.S. get away with not having Ray Allen because he did not want to go to the 2004 Olympics and he is probably in that class of “I’m too good to play defense,” but there is no excuse for Redd not to be on this team; he’s the J.J. Reddick or Trajon Langdon of the N.B.A., except he’s good. Redd is just one omission though, because Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett and a healthy Baron Davis would all be welcomed additions to this team. I guess the turnover from our lackluster performance in does not allow for these past performers to be in the show. I am not sure about that decision, but I honestly hope that it does not come back to hurt us later in August.

Another doubt that I have about this year’s team is our offensive approach. After seeing
Puerto Rico
stick with the for the majority of the first half, I looked at the offense in complete disgust! Honestly, we were lucky to even be in the game at that point. I believe Carmelo threw up some trash for our first points, then Chris Bosh shot a three, along with Carmelo taking a clank from long range once again. Whether or not any of those shots would have, or did, go down is irrelevant. The fact that I have seen better offensive philosophy in a high school gym is the problem! I know Coach K wants to use our superior athleticism and defensive capabilities to our advantage, but that is not going to win us games against teams of even the most remote signs of athleticism. Heck –
Puerto Rico
would have still been in the game if they cared to play their Center all the way through an exhibition game! Note to Coach K: The Dream Team did not play a whole lot of defense in their ’92 run. They just passed the ball up the court, with no dribbling, and no isolation, and out passed the rest of the world on their way to Gold.

Now a lot of you might be saying that the world has caught up with the since 1992, and that the is just not that capable of being the overwhelming favorite in this sport anymore. Well, I respond to you with this: Are you high? No, literally? Are you high? Because to say that the is not well within its rights to believe we should be the best at a sport we invented and have transcended to the rest of the world is like saying our democracy cannot be the best anymore. Believing that all dominance in sports cannot last forever does not explain ‘s dominating 7 World Cups and their continuing dominance of soccer, ‘s prowess in hockey, ‘s domination of the Boston Marathon, or the way Kobayashi demolishes those hot dogs at
Coney Island
every year. So to those of you who do not believe in the power of an entity remaining the best at what it does, you are selling yourself and the short.

The question remains that if a continuing of dominance is not unprecedented, and not impossible, then what has happened to basketball? One can only look to what has forever changed the name of the game in the N.B.A. and street courts across âÂ?¦.the dollla-dolla bill! Yes! Money! Money is the reason we are not on the level we should be. You want to know the difference between the Dream Team and all of these other teams that have perpetrated the international courts? It’s money. The reason why no other team will probably ever compare to Jordan, Barkley, Ewing, Magic, Malone, Pippen, and Bird is because these players were never demonized by the money of the N.B.A. (at least not prior to in 1992 in Pippen’s case). These players did not leave college early, or skip it all together because they wanted to make their first million. Yes, some of them did come out early, but it was because they were so much better than every one else. None of these players ever had shooting problems, or maturity issues, nor did any of them lack the desire to play great defense. The ’92 team was full of players who made all defensive teams and all-NBA teams; this year’s squad has just one all-NBA defender on the World Championship’s roster, and no one who is both All-NBA and All-NBA defense. Which leads me to believe that even in an era where the basketball players are far superior athletic-wise, the Dream Team would crush this team if they played in their primes. Thus the ‘s successes and failures cannot be solely accounted for by the bettering of basketball players across the world, but the primary blame has to come from the fact that we have gotten worst with in our own country.

I will admit. I have never been a fan of kids coming out of high school to go to the NBA. I just believe that the success rate of these players is just too low to keep taking chances and ruining these young kid’s potential. But now the poor drafting of unproven talent has led to the diminishing of basketball in the entire country. Kids on the basketball courts across the nation who have the talent to be great players just want to be able to dunk the ball and score 50 points, because they know that is what gets them the fat contracts, the shoe deals and the house on MTV Cribs. So no longer do we have the great tradition of outstanding dribblers, great passers, tremendous defenders, and terrific shooters combined all into one great player, but now it takes 3, 4, even as many as 5 players to get just the same effect. If you don’t believe me, tell me who you would rather have, the starting 5 from this year’s World Championship Tourney team, or ,
Ewing
and Magic (in their primes) with any 2 scrub NBA players. Your answer to that question, assuming your slight NBA intelligence, should unveil the true problem with basketball. But don’t get me wrong. I will be the first one cheering when a team that pays for their basketball shoes with a picture of Ben Franklin on their money wins the 2006 World Basketball Championships. I just hope it’s not
Puerto Rico
.

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