Archive for Thursday, August 14, 2003

Opinion: USA basketball’s return to glory

August 14, 2003

You're standing on the tracks that the train is running through, butthead, said jug head Biff to a beleaguered Marty McFly, in one of the "Back to the Future" movies.

But, as all of us movie fans know, the last laugh didn't go to Biff the Ruffian, but to our protagonist and DeLorean donning hero, McFly.

I know this analogy is a stretch, but the Biff-McFly encounter sort of reminds me of last summer's World Championship Game's.

You know the games where the United States team of NBA All-Stars huffed and puffed but couldn't quite blow the house down on the weaker teams from the rest of the world? You know, the same games in which the United States lost three games and failed to take home a medal.

Like Biff, the U.S. team thought it could show up and muscle its way to the gold medal. Like Biff, the U.S. team's season ended in a truck bed of manure. (Maybe not literally, but I'm near deadline so bear with me.)

Fortunately, only a few of the stiffs from last season's World Championship roster are back for a second go-around during this summer's Olympic qualifying tournament in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

With a possible starting lineup of Allen Iverson, Jason Kidd, Tracy McGrady, Jermaine O'Neal and Tim Duncan, only a widespread case of Montezuma's Revenge could stop the United States from reclaiming its rightful place as the world's elite basketball superpower.

Oh, and there are a few other changes as well. How does bringing Karl Malone, Elton Brand, Vince Carter, Ray Allen, Richard Jefferson, Mike Bibby and Nick Collison off the bench sound?

What do you think about Larry Brown (pretty much the world's greatest basketball coach) taking the helm of this year's team? Sound like a better coach than say, George "If I can't win a tournament with a group of freakin'' All-Stars I deserve to be coaching in the Kerry Roberts League instead of the NBA, CBA, NBADL or WNBA," Karl?

I don't know about you, but I kind of think it sounds a little better.

Last year's team played like it was choking on a chicken bone. This year's team has proven winners like Duncan, Iverson and Malone. Guys who would set a blind side pick on their mother if it meant winning a basketball game.

In fact, the only drawback I can see to this year's squad is that North Carolina head coach (and prince of the Underworld alumnus) Roy Williams is an assistant coach on the team. (Even the ringless wonder couldn't blow this tournament.)

It's all lined up for the United States to return to glory.

Early reports indicate Team USA practices have been spirited. There's even been a report that some scuffles have broken out during scrimmages.

That's a good thing. I want guys representing my nation to be a little peeved. I want them to be a little angry when they step on the floor. It sounds like Larry Brown has his guys ready.

Look out world, Biff is back.

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