Monday, August 16, 2004

NBA Champs Should Be US Olympians

I like ESPN Motion's suggestion today that the And1 Streetball Team should represent the US at future Olympics.

As basketball becomes the world's second game, we should consider resigning ourselves to our inevitable international fate -- that we just aren't going to win every Olympic basketball gold. US streetballers could serve as much-needed US goodwill ambassadors, showing how basketball antics, athletics, and acrobatics can happily comingle into a non-violent version of Capoeria, the Brazilian fighting art/dance. So what if we wouldn't win? Dream Team IV is evidence enough that we're not going to automatically win just by showing up with a roster of superstars.

As much as I like the idea of sending Streetballers, some people are still going to go for the gold. Well, there is a relatively simple way to accomplish this. I'll just parrot what Bill "The Sports Guy" Simmons said last week: If we wanted to win, we should have sent the Pistons.

The winning side in baseball's All-Star game gets homefield advantage for the World Series. Let's up the ante in the basketball finals by letting the NBA champs represent the US. Absentee players and Darko Milicic's can be replaced with other domestic All-Stars, but you'd want to keep the Piston's core intact.

I understand that if the Sacramento Kings or Dallas Mavericks (or Toronto Raptors, potentially) had won this plan would not be pulled off easily. If one of those teams won the NBA title, our Olympic team would look a lot like it does now -- a hodge-podge of middle marquee NBA names.

Since basketball success is so closely tied to team cohesion, such an option should have been the last resort anyway.

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