When you think of the USA Men’s Basketball Olympic Team, you immediately remember the 1992 “Dream Team.” The 1992 team was the first American team to feature active NBA players and is considered the greatest team ever put together in any sport. Let me break it down for you. The Dream Team consisted of Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Patrick Ewing, Karl Malone, John Stockton, David Robinson, Christian Laettner, Scottie Pippen, Clyde Drexler, and Chris Mullin. Unless you live in a shell or have never heard anything about professional basketball you should have heard of majority of these players. The USA coasted through the Olympics embarrassing country after country and letting the world know that this is America’s sport and no one will change that. Even though the USA is ranked the #1 in the FIBA world rankings, they have found it difficult to portray the same dominance that they showed in the 90’s.
In 2004, the USA finished with an embarrassing bronze medal and received criticism from a country that does not accept anything but gold in this competition. If we lose a gymnastics competition or two who cares, but the basketball team must bring home the gold. The 2008 team redeemed the 2004 team’s failure by winning it all and restoring balance to the basketball world. This afternoon the 2012 squad was announced and I have to say that as an American I am very proud of the team we are sending to the London Olympics. Led by veteran’s Kobe Bryant, Lebron James and Carmelo Anthony, the USA will look to sweep through these Olympics with what I feel is the best team since 1992. Besides the three I have already mentioned, the USA will have the talents of Russel Westbrook, Chris Paul, James Harden, Kevin Durant, Blake Griffin, Andre Iguodala, Kevin Love and Tyson Chandler.
A lot of people look at this team as undersized and inexperienced, but what I see is a team that is built for the modern-day game. If you read the names of the 2012 team you will find only one true Center in Tyson Chandler and then no other dominant big men. Don’t try to come at me with Blake Griffin and Kevin Love because neither of them represent the typical big man that NBA fans are used to. They are both great players in their own rights, but players like Ewing, Robinson, Barkley and Malone are true big men. Some people will look at this like a negative, but with the way that international basketball is played now, the big man is a formality and no longer a necessity.
This is Carmelo, Kobe and Lebron’s third Olympics that they are playing together so the veteran leadership is present and accounted for. For some reason there are some skeptics out there that feel this year’s squad can’t match up to the 2008 team.
“They are just like us, they also have players with a lot of talent,” the Oklahoma City power forward said Saturday in his first full day of training with the Spanish team. “They are a different team to 2008, but their players are still very good.” I hope that the USA team doesn’t take condescending comments like this lightly. Sure Spain finished with the silver medal back in 2008, but there is no way they think they can actually match up with all of the best scorers in the NBA. The NBA scoring champion 7 out of the last 8 year’s is currently on the USA team. I honestly feel that the roster that we have going into the Olympics could have competed with the Dream Team. Now I am not saying they would have beaten the Dream Team, but any game between them would have definitely been competitive.
Chris Paul thinks that this team is much better than the ’08 squad. “When I think about ’08, we were really good then. But like me, LeBron and D-Will, all of us talk about, you’ve got to think about how much better all of us are now than we were in ’08,” Paul said. “All of us as players, we shoot the ball better. Guys are more athletic, guys are more confident. One through 12, no question we’re deeper than we were in ’08.”
If you didn’t notice, OKC will have their big 3 on the roster and James Harden couldn’t be more proud. “Great characters, workaholics, just humble guys, humble guys and blessed to be in this position,” Harden said of himself, Durant and Westbrook. (Guys) who work hard and just set ourselves up for greatness and to achieve, and just to be on the same team with these guys means a lot.”
Spirits are up and the gold medal is America’s to lose. Will all of these high expectations be too much for America to handle? I think not. I expect to see the USA dominate throughout the Olympics and bring home the gold. If that doesn’t happen it will be considered on of the biggest tragedies in American basketball history. How do you feel this USA team will finish the 2012 Olympics?
The NBA draft is upon us and the now the owners and general managers must duke it out with negotiations and trade talks to see who can obtain the hot commodities in this years draft class. Even though there are 60 picks between the two rounds of the draft, all of the focus goes to that first pick. Sure there have been some great players that didn’t get drafted #1, maybe even the greatest ever in Michael Jordan, but there is no denying that the #1 pick can redefine your franchise if chosen correctly. Who could forget the all time #1 draft pick busts like Michael Olowokandi and Kwame Brown who left their respective franchises, the Clippers and Wizards, in the crapper as they provided no help whatsoever to turning their teams around.
My favorite basketball player of all time, Patrick Ewing, was the #1 pick of the 1985 draft and he led the Knicks to 15 consecutive playoff runs. Now Ewing never won the NBA MVP award but there have been 11 #1 picks that have. Oscar Robertson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (6 times), Bill Walton, Magic Johnson (3 times), Hakeem Olajuwon, David Robinson, Shaq, Allen Iverson, Tim Duncan (2 times), Lebron James (3 times) and Derrick Rose have all proven that their upper management knew what they were doing when they called their names as the #1 pick. The second that the #1 pick is said aloud at the draft, his face instantly becomes the forefront of a franchise that has clearly been struggling based on their ability to get that #1 slot.
This years draft contains what people are calling one of the best players of all time and he hasn’t even stepped out onto the professional hardwood yet. Anthony Davis has critics drooling as people are just trying to figure out how he can translate his college dominance to the NBA level. There have been comparisons made between Davis and Duncan, which is pretty high praise because Duncan is one of the greatest players ever. As I stated before, when Davis’ name gets called tonight as the first pick of the draft, he will be the new face of the New Orleans Hornets organization. With that being said, there is only one person I can compare Davis to right now and that is one of my childhood mentors, Bert.
If you didn’t notice from the above picture, Davis sports one of the thickest unibrows ever. He looks absolutely ridiculous and for some reason to this day he still hasn’t had it fixed. Maybe he was a huge Sesame Street fan and his unibrow is an ode to Bert, whose unibrow is without question the best ever. Maybe he wasn’t a fan of Bert and maybe he just had a huge interest in the “Surrealist Art Movement,” where the person with the most recognizable unibrow, Frida Kahlo, was a major contributor.
Regardless of his reasons, Anthony Davis must fix this atrocity immediately. Sure there is some symbolism behind that brow of his. I mean the prefix “uni” does mean “one,” and Davis is about the be the #1 pick of the draft, but is that enough reason to walk around like you have a giant Caterpillar permanently sitting on your forehead. I think not, and if I was Monte Williams and the rest of the Hornets organization I would force him to have that taken care of on a daily basis. I really hope that the Hornets don’t turn around and try to embrace that hideous unibrow and make it a trademark like the Thunder fans did for James Harden’s beard. I mean I can just see it now, the Hornets handing out stick on unibrows that all the fans can wear during home games that would make their stadium look like it was filled with products of incest.
I think Davis will be great and I look forward to seeing who else will get picked in tonight’s draft, but if Davis doesn’t want to be ridiculed on a nightly basis, he better fix his hairy situation.
P.S. I apologize to anyone with a unibrow that may have been offended by this article. I do not feel that all people with unibrows look like products of incest…just most of them.
Patrick Aloysius Ewing has made it clear that he wants to be a head coach in the NBA. He is currently the Assistant Coach of the Orlando Magic where he is learning under a very smart coach in Stan Van Gundy. He has been coaching under the tutelage of Van Gundy since the 2007-2008 season and the Magic have been thriving in the Eastern Conference as perennial playoff contender ever since. For some reason, even with his coaching successes, there has been an unfair stigma left on him saying he can only be a “Big Mans Coach.” I feel that his credentials not only warrant him at least a chance at being a Head Coach, but I think he will make an extremely good one based on who he has learned from. First let’s begin with his personal numbers as a Basketball player.
ESPN ranked Patrick the 16th greatest NCAA basketball player of all time. Ewing decided to attend the John Thompson lead Georgetown Hoyas in 1981 and brought them to 3 National Championship games and earned 1 National Title. The NBA then decided to initiate a new “draft lottery” that would prevent teams from throwing games at the end of seasons to gain a better draft pick. It is said that Ewing was the reason this was implemented due to his ridiculously high value as a player. My New York Knicks won the first NBA draft lottery and selected the future Hall of Fame Center with a lot of hope. Even in an injury plagued rookie season, Patrick still went on to win the Rookie of the Year while averaging outstanding numbers of 20 ppg, 9 rpg, and 2 bpg. He quickly became known as a premier Center in the NBA and was soon showered with all types of honors. With crazy rebounding skills and an uncanny ability to block shots, Patrick Ewing made the NBA All-Star team a remarkable 11 times. Ewing was also selected to represent America in the Olympics as a member of the original 1992 Dream Team where he brought home the Olympic Gold. At the end of his storied career, Ewing was picked as one of the 50 greatest NBA players of all time and had his #33 jersey retired by the Knicks. The one thing that always eluded Patrick Ewing was that so-close-but-so-far NBA Title.
After being coached by the likes of Pat Riley, Don Nelson, Jeff Van Gundy (Stan’s brother) and many more, Patrick Ewing has definitely paid his dues. Ewing took it on himself to help train and develop the best Center in the NBA today, Dwight Howard. Ewing’s tutelage was the key factor in the Magic’s run to the NBA Finals in 2009 against the LA Lakers. His defensive coaching style helped Dwight break the record for blocks in a playoff game (9) that Patrick himself once set (8) in the 1994 Finals against the Houston Rockets. There are so many coaches that have worked with Patrick that say he can be a Head Coach in this league, and a good one at that. Yet, even with all of these positive accolades, Patrick still has not been able to get the opportunity he wants. This past off-season, Patrick got his first Head Coaching interview with the Detroit Pistons but the job was given to the past New Jersey Nets coach Lawrence Frank. With how Detroit is playing this season that might have been a blessing in disguise. Before Wednesdays massacre of the Knicks over the Magic, Patrick went on to say this about the idea of being the Knicks head coach, “I played here. I know the ins and outs of New York, the media, the fans.”
As a huge Patrick Ewing fan, I would love to see him have this opportunity; assuming Mike Woodson’s current success comes back to reality and his contract doesn’t get renewed. Whether his opportunity comes from the Knicks or one of the many currently dismal NBA teams, Patrick deserves a chance to be a head coach. I want to see it. Do you think he deserves a chance? If so, where should he go?