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VECSEY at NEW YORK POST: DREAM TEAM NOT WORTH GLORIFYING! RIGHT but NOT FAR ENOUGH!

When I read the caption I was pleased:  What does that mean?  Are the major sportwriters starting to come around on how pros and greed have ruined Olympic Basketball?  Well, I am cautiously optimistic after seeing this article in the NY Post.  Here are highlights:

IRONIC how yesterday was Flag Day and here we are, draped in drool over the 20th anniversary of the narcissistic 1992 Dream Team.

Like long time reader Lawrence Bentley of Plano, Texas, I am proud to say I have never seen that supercilious squadron play a single minute. That goes for the four following deified delegations as well.

Twice, I declined plum assignments to cover Dream Teams; the first while working for USA Today — though shamelessly tempted by a week or more in Monaco where Chuck Daly’s team trained rigorously for the likes of Angola; the second for NBC in Sydney (2000), which cost me a 25G bonus plus a round-trip first-class ticket for my wife.

Once Olympic basketball switched from amateur to pro, I tuned out completely. What’s more, I have no intention to watch NBA TV’s currently airing 90-minute documentary that glorifies the grandeur of the Dream Team.

Let me do one better, Peter Vecsey – I do not plan to root for the USA team this Olympics unless they are playing a truly odious country.  Time for people to stop giving to the Olympic Committee unless they designate it for curling or a similar underfunded sport.

But most of Vecsey’s article is about how Michael Jordan dissed Isiah Thomas and kept him off the original Dream Team.  Others on the team had also not distinguished themselves in later life.  But that is not the point.  I do appreciate the break in the united front.

This article at CBS Sports.com, suggesting that Olympic basketball should be limited to 23 and under (Olympic soccer is like that); I could go along with that:

Maybe at no point in the past 10 years has the memory and legend of that team been as palpable in popular culture. And it’s fitting that we remember that team as the NBA considers moving the Olympic team to a 23-and-under club, ending the change that began in 1992 allowing all professionals world-wide to play (international professionals were allowed to play prior to ’92, something the documentary and McCallum’s book discusses).

***

No, the biggest reason is because there is that we have nothing left to prove as a nation, not after the Dream Team. Be careful, here. I’m not saying that another nation can’t defeat the Team USA’s of now, that this summer’s team can’t go down in a heap. They can. International basketball has leveled the playing field without our help (well, not much of our help). Were the Spanish team anything close to healthy, they would have to be considered a pretty close second to Team USA in London this summer.

The NBA Commissioner has called for the 23 and under plan.
Speaking on ESPN Radio, Stern said he would be in favor of making a new age restriction on who can participate in the basketball tournament.

“My own view is that post-London, we should be thinking about even what soccer does and make it 23 and under,” Stern said Monday.

This writer, Royce Young, the NBA blogger, supports pro teams in the Olympics and is unapologetic about it:
But I disagree with Stern because don’t you want the best of the best representing each country? Why restrict the age? The Olympics are the World Cup equivalent for basketball, meaning it’s the top international hoops prize. The World Cup features the top soccer players in the world, so why should basketball not? Unless this is an effort to maybe turn the focus to the World Championships in basketball and make it the stronger tournament or something.

I don’t have a problem with it being more competitive at all, but it’s not the United States’ fault if it just so happens to be terrific at basketball. Spain isn’t apologizing for soccer dominance or Canada for its hockey. Besides, it’s not a given at all that Team USA is going to win in London. There are a number of quality teams and with the injuries already sustained for the U.S., winning won’t be easy.

I think the Olympics are not another professional event:  It is supposed to be for amateurs.  I realize there are blurred gray areas between pro and amateur athletics but I think rules can be written to ensure fair eligibility.  But, I still refuse to support the USA men’s basketball team and unless the opponent is a terrible unrootable nation, I will openly root for the other nation.  I’d like to see this happen at sport bars throughout the nation – it’ll make news and will send the lesson to the USOC and USA Basketball.  As for me, it’s new sports, new nations who have not won a medal before, and sports where we do nto win or win very often.  Like fencing!  Or curling!  (If you live in Richmond area and want to try curling, go here or fencing go here or here!)

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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Nothing is more conservative than a republican wanting to get their majority back. And nothing is more liberal than a republican WITH a majority.

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