The United States made the men’s Olympic basketball team selection last week. I have to admit, I was a bit disappointed. Sure the guys are great, acclaimed superstars of the NBA, but most of them have reputations of being prima donnas. Kevin Durant is known as an all-around nice guy, he should be, he was originally a Sonic”¦ but we won’t go there.
This team just doesn’t capture my imagination like the Dream Team of 1992. You know, the team that had Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippin, Larry Bird, Karl Malone, Magic Johnson, Patrick Ewing, and Charles Barkley. Can you get any more amazing than that? Each player was seen as super star with a big ego but you never thought of them as too good to play with each other. That team had a different feel, maybe it is because it was the first Olympic team made of professional basketball players. Fans saw it as a chance to recapture America’s glory. You know how American sports fans are, or are assumed to be. That team had an aura around them similar to the aura that a team of astronauts have – boldly going out to accomplish great things.
The U.S. basketball team, put together the same way, in 2004 lost 3 games and failed to win gold. That was a shock to the players and to the U.S. How could our professionals lose like that? Forget the fact that other countries are getting better, more are playing basketball, and our players couldn’t put egos aside to play as a team, but these guys play for real. Since 1992 was the “Dream Team,” then this team became remembered at the “nightmare team.” It was mistake not to be repeated in 2008. The 2008 team, known as the redemption team, got gold. I think the feeling then was to redeem American from humiliation.
The sad thing is, this year’s team just feels spoiled as the 2004 team. Maybe it is because I am not a child with rose-colored glasses on or maybe it is because I am not a fan of Kobe Bryant or Jerome James. Maybe I have such animosity against the NBA that I don’t want to see professional players do anything. It could also be because I am jaded about the U.S. Olympic basketball team being another version of the All-Star game. But the team doesn’t have the aura or thrill about them.
What is really cool about Olympic basketball is the Women’s Olympic basketball team They too are professionals! That wasn’t a possibility in 1992. There was no professional league for women growing up. The league didn’t start until 1996, play began in 1997.
It is hard for me to realize that young girls today, or even young adult women, have grown up with the WNBA as a reality. They can seek to play basketball professionally! They can set their sights on playing basketball as a career! In all the other things that have changed so rapidly since the mid 1990s this is one of the greats. Women can do anything.
Our WNBA women are awesome, especially Sue Bird. Who, as you may have noticed, is on the 2012 London Olympic roster! Woo Hoo.
Sue Bird has played for the champion winning Seattle Storm since they drafted her in 2002. She is one of seven women to achieve the awards of Olympic Gold, WNBA Championship, and NCAA Championship. She was also voted in the top 15 women players of all time. Sue is a great person and active in our community. This woman can play! Just this past weekend, Sue scored an amazing 31 points against Phoenix to help win the game. If you haven’t found a person to watch or root for, choose Sue Bird. This woman has game.
The Olympic basketball games will begin July 28 and finish with medals on August 12. Women’s medals will be on August 11.