Sunday, September 2, 2007

Credit where credit is due.

Congratulations to Team USA for winning the FIBA Americas championship. You might think that with the lineup the U.S. can put on the floor, including Lebron James and Kobe Bryant pictured here, as well as Carmelo Anthony, Jason Kidd, Michael Redd and many other NBA superstars, other teams would just wither like spiders on a hot stove. But in recent international tournaments, the U.S. has been very disappointing, not having done better than winning the bronze medal in recent years, and sometimes just barely winning that, even playing in friendly environs like Indianapolis. This tournament, they plowed through everybody, even teams that had beat them recently like Puerto Rico and Argentina. Superstar players showed terrific teamwork and defensive skills, and deserve some respect.

In many sports where we have strong professional lineups, The United States' male national teams, caught up in a "We're # 1!" mentality, have shown truly dreadful results in international competitions over the past few years. We lost the first international baseball championships held in our own country, for pity's sake, and the Ryder Cup has been a dreadful embarrassment for a team made up of most of golf's best players for the past decade.

Here's hoping this team can show the same intensity next year at the Olympics.


dguzman said...

I have often wondered why our teams of basketball professionals don't do better in international competition, and the only explanations I can come up with are none too flattering to those pros: inability to play fundamentally sound team ball, reliance on hotdogging, and a "not like I really need to show up; we'll win anyway!" mentality. I realize that it's hard for our pros to gel as a team when they don't play together other than at these competitions, but I think that if there were more focus on and development of fundamentals in the NBA, it seems to me that they'd have a better chance of being on the same page when they came together.

As for the Ryder Cup teams, man, you got me. WTF is up with that?!

Matty Boy said...

The difference in the rules of international basketball are well exploited by teams who play it regularly. Other teams have players make three year commitments on a regular basis, something our players are just starting to do again.