The NBA All Star Game is a great time to be an NBA fan. All of your favorite (or least favorite) players get together and create a “super” team and play in a game that doesn’t matter. What is awesome, however, is the Olympics. All the best players that are American citizens come together and represent us, the country. We get to watch them play against the best talent in the world; some known, and others less than popular.
In the Olympics, there is a maximum roster size of 12 players, which unfortunately means that someone you or I want to see is going to get cut. Soon enough, we will know who will be in the roster pool of 18 that will be considered to represent our country at the Olympics.
USA Basketball had struggled after a less than stellar performance in Greece during the 2004 Olympics. A bold response in Beijing helped to rebrand our game. America used to dominate because we were flat out better: better athletes, better coaches. This does not mean that we had better teamwork, but our athletic ability was miles ahead of many other countries.
After that unfortunate performance, USA basketball is now re-inventing itself to stay on top. Spain, Greece, Puerto Rico, and many other foreign countries are quickly catching up and trying to surpass us. At those 2004 Olympics, the unthinkable happened: we did not win gold.
The new team is going to be built not only on speed, but a dominating post game. Dwight Howard will clearly be a first choice center, but Kevin Love and Tyson Chandler will get hard looks to match up with the athletic big men around the world. Clearly our strength lies at the point: Derrick Rose, Chris Paul, Derron Williams, and Russell Westbrook are all top choices. Lebron James, Kevin Durant, and Carmelo Anthony are formidable forward players.
USA basketball can no longer rely solely on athletic ability and talent to win the Olympics. We are going to have to not only work together, but work hard and earn every step of the way. By January 18th, we will find out who those lucky 18 men are going to be who will be willing to take us to that next level.