Monday, August 25, 2008

Redeem or Re-Dream Team?

It's been a while since I 'mounted' my soap box, so indulge me while I rant about The USA mens Olympic basketball team. First off, I'm with Kobe Bryant when he says that the coined name "Redeem Team" is "cheesy." I mean, come on, who seriously cares whether you're trying to redeem yourselves from the fact that you've only won 12 out of the last 15 Olympic gold medals in mens basketball? The Olympics represent so much more than indulged, overpaid, self-entitled men parading themselves around as if being a professional basketball player somehow makes you better than all the other athletes at the games. Having said that, I am thoroughly 'chuffed' that David Stern (commissioner of the NBA) refused to be drawn into the hype of comparing this "Redeem Team" to the original "Dream Team" that first shone the spotlight on professional basketball players competing at the Olympics. When asked which team he thought was better, he responded, "That's not a comparison that I'm going to make. I think it's a nice set of bookends representing how we introduced the sport to a broader audience..."

Then they asked some of the players what they thought a matchup between the two teams would have looked like. Dwayne Wade of the Miami Heat, who, a few years ago won the NBA championship, demonstrated as much class as David Stern when he responded, "I would never even try to match us with the Dream Team. First of all, they gave us the vision to be the team that we are, with all those stars coming together.... You can't be compared to the first. Only thing you can do is write your own history, and that's what we're doing." What a smart response from a young man who has already won the crowning jewel of the NBA. Similarly, Lebron James, declined to conjecture about the outcome of such a matchup and simply said, "It would be a good one. It would be a real good one." Sadly, not all players displayed such class and intelligence. Carmelo Anthony, confronted with the same question responded, "I think we would've beat them... we think we can hang with anybody."

Forgive me, but the last time I checked, Carmelo Anthony hasn't even won the Western Conference Finals. Carmelo who??? He wasn't even a starter on the so called "Redeem Team" yet he dares to compare himself and his team to the greatest players that ever played the game of basketball. I mean, he has a nick name like "Melo" while that team had names like "Larry Legend." It featured the most prolific passing tandem of Stockton and Malone. One of the biggest and best point guards to ever play the game, in Earving Magic Johnson. The Dream Team boasted all stars like Patrick Ewing, Charles Barkley, Joe Dumars, Scottie Pippen, and of course the greatest basketball player of all time in Michael Jordan, to name just some of the players. These were men who were mostly past their prime yet not one team could even come close to threatening their reign as the 'supreme team.' Maybe Carmelo was talking about beating that team if they played them today, since most of them would be in their mid to late forties. Even then, I still wouldn't put my money on Carmelo and his boys. Kobe Bryant may arguably be the best player on this current team and even he doesn't hold a candle to Michael and Magic and co.

I think it is tactless and arrogant for the likes of Carmelo Anthony to make such thoughtless assertions when he is better known for his off the court DUI's and other such activities than he is for his skill on the court. Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Dwayne Wade, didn't presume to compare themselves to the original "Dream Team" yet Carmelo thinks they would've beaten them. Carmelo, if you're listening, you haven't even begun to approach leaving a legacy of any substance so you'd best shut up and play basketball and let history judge the rest. Your assertions sound as ridiculous as Tiger Woods would sound if he bragged that he's better than Jack Nicklaus. He doesn't need to say it, he just needs to prove it so that the end of his career leaves no doubt of that fact. Just some friendly advice! There, I feel much better now!!!


Ash said...

if the two teams competed...the original dream team would kick butt! they had heart...much more so than pro players today who are contracted a millions more despite their level of play ability.

yes, i'm old enough to remember larry bird, michael jordan and magic. those were the players my dad introduced me to, that got me excited about the game of basketball. dad and i would even have our own "play off" tournaments every year...

now? i'd prefer to watch college ball over pro any day of the week. and i'm starting to think we shouldn't have pro paid basketball players in the olympics, b/c the games are, like you said, SO much more!

Theresa said...

Very Well Said!! I am in full agreement!! The original Dream Team was amazing to watch and root for. All I really saw this year was a Kobe Bryant exibition game with others on the court.

80's basketbal was amazing remember James Worthy, Byron Scott, Bill Lambeere, Danny Ange, Kevin McHale, And so may more.

Darn you got me started. LOL

Ash said...

well theresa...while he retired just three years before i was born...i'd have to count pete maravich as one of the greatest of all time...and he never even wore a championship ring.