Let the record show that I love the NBA like Sheray Thomas loves hustle plays. So the news that Team USA lost to the round-ball juggernaut that is Greece this morning in the FIBA World Championships should do little to ruin my morning. But it did. I always care when national pride is at stake, but I wasn’t even this angered when the USA blew the Olympics like they were in a highway rest stop bathroom with George Michael. No, this is more exasperating because the USA actually tried this time. Jerry Colangelo was thrust into the saddle and given the job of resurrecting the international program in the country that, well, invented basketball. Jerry Colangelo? Sounds like a Greek loyalist to me. Colangelo must’ve thought that the team needed to be “not just prepared for basketball, but for life”, so he brought in Coach K to direct the show. Things appeared to be on the up and up for the yanks when most of the NBA’s brightest young guns signed on for the tournament run. LeBron. Melo. D-Wade. Shane Battier. This team can’t possibly lose right? Wrong. They lost to Greece. A team composed of zero NBA players, and lead by the likes of Theodoros Papaloukas and Vassilis Spanoulis.
Bring on the excuses: “They’re not used to playing with each other.”
“Face it, the world is catching up.”
“The international game is completely different than the NBA.”
“Americans can’t shoot like the rest of the world.”
That shouldn’t matter. D-Wade can get a triple double in the NBA Finals but he can’t outscore Uncle Jesse? LeBron has like a 50-inch vert, just take off from half-court ala Michael Jordan in Space Jam (cue Seal) and dunk on these chumps.
While I’ll be over this loss by lunch (because, hey, Coach K once again failed to get out of the semis, and that’s never a bad thing…b-ball is tough without ACC refs huh Mikey?) I can’t help but feel a little embarrassed for our country right now. The only international sports we own now are the half-pipe and cup stacking (and I’m pretty sure Germany is on our heels). Oh well. At least we’re done with the NBA, and the nauseatingly rich selfish bricklayers who comprise it, for a while. Never have I yearned for Chris Mullen's crew-cut as I do at the moment.