Thursday, August 26, 2004

Go home, Mario

A little advice for Spanish men's basketball coach Mario Pesquera: Go home -- nobody likes a sore loser.

Pesquera embarrassed himself, his team, and his country by demonstrably confronting first the referees, and then U.S. coach Larry Brown, after his team played valiantly in a 102-94 loss to the Americans Thursday.

He only made things worse by later accusing Brown, one of the classiest coaches in the NBA, of showboating by calling a late timeout with the game out of reach. If Brown wanted to embarrass the Spaniards, he could have called over Stephon Marbury, Allen Iverson, and the rest of the team, and told them to play like they did in their first five games. The embarrassment would have been Pesquera standing on the podium, praising his team's upset over the Mighty Americans, who only yesterday showed the All-Star form we've come to expect from them.

Pesquera also moaned that "the game was played under NBA rules, not FIBA rules." Clearly Mario was not watching today's game, nor has he paid attention to any of Team USA's previous matches, which were officiated in such a bizarre manner, it's been impossible to predict whether even the most flagrant fouls will be called.

Mario cried, "The Americans have played to 40 percent of their capacity in two of their games. I think it’s very strange to take part in a competition that rewards teams that lose." I guess we're supposed to believe that, because his Spanish squad won all five of their preliminary games, they were the better team. But if the roles were reversed, would Pesquera be decrying the tournament set-up, or hailing his win as an upset of the great Dream Team?

The only thing Pesquera's team proved is that they could not stop a more talented, better-motivated U.S. basketball team. But it's OKAY, Mario! It's happened since NBA players were first admitted to the Olympics! It's nothing to be embarrassed about! Lose gracefully and move on.

Perhaps Pesquera's real frustration was that he didn't have his players mentally prepared to face a stronger American team. Perhaps he was concerned about his own job, which he will hopefully lose after today's loss and his subsequent temper tantrum.

Either way, the Olympics are better off without him. The last thing Athens needs is another whimpering bridesmaid.

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  • At 2:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    why did larry brown call a timeout?


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