Olympic basketball's troubling trend

By Ian Jacoby

Through several qualifying rounds and one day of quarterfinals in Olympic Men’s Basketball, I began to notice something strange occurring, and I’m sure everyone else saw it too. I don’t know if there’s something causing it, or if it is just pure coincidence. Either way, it has to be addressed.

Ladies and gentlemen, there’s a nut-shot epidemic.

First it was Argentina’s point guard, Facundo Campazzo, who delivered a sneaky shot right below Carmelo Anthony’s belt in the USA’s last qualifying match.

I didn’t think much of that action. I just chalked it up to either late-game chippy-ness because the Argentineans were being humiliated by Kevin Durant (ho-my-god did you see his third quarter?!) or because Campazzo had been knocked down earlier in the game (something that tends to happen when you’re a 5’10” scrub and the average height for team USA is around 6’7”.)

I wasn’t even sure he meant to hit Melo’s fellows. It’s not his fault that Anthony’s waist is five feet in the air.

Regardless, I was sure that was going to be an isolated incident. I mean this is The Olympics, the ultimate measure of sportsmanship and international camaraderie. This is no place for testicular-torment.

But then in Tuesday’s quarterfinal between France and Spain the unthinkable happened.

That’s right, 2 punches, 2 fouls and 4 marbles.

The Portland Trail Blazers’ Nicolas Batum gave a whole new meaning to the word “swingman” when he aggressively fouled Spain’s shooting guard Juan Carlos Navarro in the 4th quarter of a choke-job by France.

I don’t remember a single incidence of this kind of brutal “ball-handling” during the last season of the NBA and that raises a ton of questions.

“Is this a foreign thing?”

“Will Lebron James‘ incessant need to be liked mean that he adopts this troubling practice to impress his international friends?”

“Is David Stern going to have to spend 3 years pretending to address this issue?”

“How long before we make Olympic ball-battering its own sport?”

I suppose only time will tell. Until then, I suggest wearing protection.

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