“Basketball is a beautiful sport, there is no room for fixing the game like today Australia vs Angola!! FIBA should do something about that!”
Goran Dragic made headlines when he took to Twitter this morning with the accusation that the aforementioned Australia versus Angola game was predetermined for a sketchy type of ending. But there should be no stir because he was likely right.
A day before the controversial matchup, ESPN analyst Fran Fraschilla sat on air and mapped out the possibility of multiple teams–who were already guaranteed to make it out of group play–trying to tank games for better positioning. And following the Aussie’s 91-83 loss, the former college coach made it a point to acknowledge how obvious it was that self-destruction was their agenda.
He even went as far as comparing the Australian National team’s second half of, majority, bench play to the notoriously bad basketball displayed by the Harlem Globetrotters’ most woeful foe, the Washington Generals.
And all of this deception was presumably to avoid playing the United States in the knockout rounds.
Again, none of this is new. It’s basically a ritual that we have seen Spain use in previous Olympics games, that hold more clout than the newly minted World Cup. We have even witnessed the 2008 extreme of the Spaniards barely playing their stars against the U.S.A, in group play, in order to take a loss and ensure that they didn’t see the Americans again until the gold medal game.
This means Dragic can argue for as much fairness and level playing field as he wants. Tradition will always stay true to the old adage: “if you aren’t cheating you aren’t trying.” And that counts for FIBA and the NBA.