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POIGNANT story about USA BASKETBALL – too bad SPORTS IMPERIALISM may well keep them out of the OLYMPICS!

I could hardly read this story from the Lafayette (IN) Journal & Courier without getting a bit teary – following in his father’s footsteps on the national team:

The letter Purdue sophomore Vince Edwards opened in March contained more than a USA Basketball invitation.

It bridged a family connection to Team USA that stretched back almost 20 years.

“To grab that envelope and open it up and see that, it’s a great feeling, because my dad played in USA basketball,” said Edwards, whose father, Bill, won a bronze medal at the 1998 FIBA World Championship. “To be able to follow those footsteps and participate and play for your country, it’s an outstanding feeling.”

A great story. Following in Dad’s footsteps.  My congrats to both.  But there’s a fly in the ointment:  Sports imperialism sets up a ceiling on what most basketball players can accomplish for their nation.

Let’s begin with the two different teams at play here.  Bill Edwards did indeed play for his country in the World Championships.  Here is the FIBA website on this competition.  The USA team, all pros playing for other nations except one (Jimmy Hal King) and one NBA player (Brad Miller of the Sacramento Kings), did win third place in this championship.  Now I do not have an issue with pros in a World Championship.

The team Vince Edwards is trying out for is the under 19 years of age national team.  It has had a storied history, too.  Since 1979.  Almost entirely made up of non-professional players, this USA team does not always win gold.  Our team was second in 1987, 1997 and 2007; third in 2003 and 2007, fifth in 2003 and 2011 and an amazing seventh in 1995.  Other nations win, too.  A true competition.

Neither team is like the Olympics.  It’s a shame that unless Vince Edwards turns pro and is selected in the smoke-filled rooms (an expression – I am sure the smoke in the room is banned by law!) by officials who seems to ensure that certain pro athletes and coaches will win that second or third Olympic medal, he will never be an Olympian.  The sports imperialism system we have with pro athletes dominating the Games shuts out most amateurs.  At the very least we need a two-tiered competition – pro and amateur – in these sports.

I’ll gladly root for THIS USA team that Vince Edwards is trying out for.  But never for the Olympic team.  Not as long the Games are effectively rigged by sports imperialism to the tune of millions of dollars that shuts most nations out of a realistic chance to win.

My response:  Don’t give a dime to the USOC.  Tell ’em why.  Give your money instead to a non-pro dominated Olympic sport like curling or that local amateur athlete trying out to represent their nation.

 

About Elwood Sanders

Elwood “Sandy” Sanders is a Hanover attorney who is an Appellate Procedure Consultant for Lantagne Legal Printing and has written ten scholarly legal articles. Sandy was also Virginia’s first Appellate Defender and also helped bring curling in VA! (None of these titles imply any endorsement of Sanders’ views)

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