Monday, August 16, 2004

Settle down, America

Tom caught Jerry. Wile E. Coyote beat the crap out of the Road Runner. Larry and Curly smacked Moe around and never got hit back.

That's the gravity of the situation stateside as the American men's basketball team lost an Olympic preliminary round game to Puerto Rico.

And now America turns its back on them? Well, not me! And help is on the way (insert John Kerry voiceover here.)

I'll be that lone voice of support for our boys overseas (and I didn't win three purple hearts). I anoint myself the U.S. basketball zealot until another country has its anthem played during the medal ceremony. I'm with you, Team USA, the same way Vinny Antonelli (Todd Wilkinson) was with Barney Coopersmith.

This group of ballers is flawed, but so were Rocky and the Bad News Bears. And the sequels to the sequels are still on loop over there at the TNT and TBS.

Seems to me there's another bunch of fellas stationed over there in the Mediterranean area that we support, even after it's been proven that President Bush is somewhat less than truthful.

Every caller on the sports talk radio blasted the U.S. for losing. Lawyer friend Steve even called me during the third quarter to say he was "ashamed to be an American." While it wasn't exactly quality basketball played by these Americans, the world nor the Olympic tournament will end after one game.

Some suggested USA Basketball should revert to the earlier days when college players were the only ones receiving Olympic invites. I'm a sports romantic, but that's just a silly notion, especially when you realize pros were allowed into Olympics in response to the U.S. collegians losing to the Soviet Union in the 1988 semifinals.

Besides, if the college game was so much better, why were 24 of the last 58 first-round NBA draft picks from high schools or other countries?

Editor friend Tim suggests the NBA champion in an Olympic year represent the United States. So let's take a look at those Detroit Pistons. We took their coach, how about the players?

Well, Rip Hamilton and Ben Wallace turned down the invite after they were the last boys picked for kickball in the schoolyard. Mehmet Okur? He's from Turkey, and he doesn't even play for Detroit anymore. Darko Milicic? Serbia & Montenegro! Rasheed Wallace got two technicals at the airport, so he's out. Chauncey Billups would have been a nice point guard, but only if Gary Payton came up with some sort of dual citizenship. Tayshaun Prince would have been nice, too. But that's it. I'll take Carmelo, LeBron, The Answer and Duncan over Lindsay Hunter, Elden Campbell, Derrick "Whoopty-damn-do" Coleman and Antonio McDyess.

All the U.S. needs is some defense and some shots to fall. There are six teams in the preliminary group. The top four advance to the medal round. Do we think that won't happen? C'mon, people.

Prediction for Tuesday's game: U.S. 101, Greece 6.

Sorry, I got caught up in the moment.

Revised prediction for Tuesday's game: U.S. 94, Greece 71. (Iverson goes for 31)

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