I followed a lot of ESPN Sportscenter, Around the Horn and other stuff like that today. The US National team was announced:
Named to the 2008 USA Basketball Senior National Team were: Carmelo Anthony (Denver Nuggets); Carlos Boozer (Utah Jazz); Chris Bosh (Toronto Raptors); Kobe Bryant (Los Angeles Lakers); Dwight Howard (Orlando Magic); LeBron James (Cleveland Cavaliers); Kidd; Chris Paul (New Orleans Hornets); Tayshaun Prince (Detroit Pistons); Michael Redd (Milwaukee Bucks); Dwyane Wade (Miami Heat); and Deron Williams (Utah Jazz). Duke University Hall of Fame coach Mike Krzyzewski is head coach of the USA Senior Team program. Serving as assistant coaches are Syracuse University and Hall of Fame coach Jim Boeheim, New York Knicks head mentor Mike D’Antoni and Portland Trail Blazers head coach Nate McMillan.
Don’t get me wrong, these names are the top performers of worldwide basketball entertainment and any team would love to have just one of these guys on their roster, but do teams like Spain, Lithuania and Russia have to be scared? No, not at all.
You still need to have a team and really take pride in representing your nation. I do know guys like Dirk Nowitzki are busting their a** off right now, with three or four training sessions a day, just to qualify for the Olympics. Do you really think one of the guys above does care that much?
Following the NBA Finals taught me one thing about US Basketball: You might be the best guy in the world, but if somebody wants it more than you do – you will lose, right Kobe?
Another thing you might have seen during the NBA finals: It is still a TEAM that wins championships – you can’t do much,when they isolate your top star with a box-and-one defense, right, Kobe?
So am I scared, or do I feel like “these other countries caught up with US Basketball” (as said on every single TV show on ESPN today)? No and yes. I’m not scared, and European basketball does not have to catch up – we are right there, guys!
As excited as I am about the start of the Euroleague season, I’m excited about this year’s Olympics, right, Kobe?