I watched a video the other day of Team USA Olympic warmups, our proud nation’s latest attempt to once again show the world who’s boss on the basketball court.
For basketball joneses like me, watching Team USA play hoops in international competition is like fielding your own fantasy team where you get the first twelve picks without anyone else choosing and then decimating the competition while sipping on a Big Gulp and reminding ourselves that our country is already great and doesn’t need to made great again. The historic 1992 Olympic team set the barrier awfully high, putting together Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird among others to embarrass the world en route to gold. They were megastars. That was the first time we had assembled professional players in the Olympics. While some complained it was unfair, others said too fucking bad. Here’s our best. Good luck beating ‘em.
In 2016, the US is still putting together its best professionals to take on the competition. Some of the league’s biggest names, i.e., LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Steph Curry, opted out of these Olympics. They’ve already garnered gold. Well, Curry hasn’t but Wade and James both won Olympic gold in 2008 and James did again in 2012.
Carmelo Anthony was also on both those ’08 and ’12 teams. He’s on it again in 2016 and make no mistake… this is Carmelo’s team. At 32, he is the team’s elder statesman, which is good because those of us who have criticized Carmelo since he came into the league argue that he has failed to live up to the hype. Now comes one mini-shot at redemption.
After winning a national championship at Syracuse as a freshman, Carmelo attained superstar status but has no other jewelry to show for it. No Finals championships, no finals appearances and no MVPs. He owns one scoring title, with the Knicks in 2012-13, but we all knew he could score. Essentially, he is this generation’s Danny Manning.
Now that he’s at the back end of his career, the Knicks have finally paired him with some similarly aging talent, Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah. But first, Carmelo must take on the world and as usual, anything short of gold for Team USA will be a disappointment.
Despite not having the aforementioned players, Team USA should still be standing atop the podium when it’s all said and done. If they fall short, rest assured, Carmelo will shoulder some of the blame.
Personally, I’ve always been a Carmelo fan. That’s because I’ve accepted him for what he is. A scorer and that’s about it. Dubbed the ball-stopper by many (because he doesn’t pass) this is his chance to show that he’s matured, that he can become a true leader, the chance to accept that he doesn’t need to be the leading scorer on this team, that someone else can handle the workload. Michael Jordan wasn’t the leading scorer on the ’92 Olympic team. Neither was Larry or Magic. Charles Barkley was.
With DeMar Derozan, Jimmy Butler, Kyrie Irving, Paul George, Klay Thompson and the newest Warrior, Kevin Durant on this team, there will be plenty of scoring. The ball stopping in Carmelo’s hands could lead to no gold.
This autumn, he’s going to lead a brand new Knicks team in what will be the beginning of the end of his NBA career. But first, the Olympics in Rio.
There’s more riding on these Olympics than you might think. Carmelo understands that. Winning or losing the gold won’t define his career. Winning would give him a third Olympic gold which I’m not too sure too many NBA players have. It would also prove once again that he’s a winner, something that we haven’t seen from him in a long, long time.
Losing, well, losing is not an option.
There’s something un-American about such a disparate level of completion. How the hell am I supposed to bet on Uganda +75 points?
Hope you had the good guys minus thirty-seven tonight, Dub.
This could be a fun Olympics if that keeps up.
‘melo’s golden moments are like a rallying cry to stand up in front of a herd of elephants and then wait for a response. It’s bad enough with his idiocy during the ESPY’s alongside , D Wade, LBJ and Chris Paul. These athletes when it comes to social activism are about welcomed as a dose of the Ebola Virus or Dengue Fever. They’re all full of $hit .
Team USA will likely win gold in both tournaments , but in all honesty , the public want to see competitive games and that is not likely to happen in any of the competition for the Men’s and Women’s titles.
Your thoughts on Adam Silver imploring WNBA President Lisa Borders to fine several female players for wearing jerseys which stated ” stop gun violence ” ? This is the type of nonsense which proves both league hierarchies are being ran by frigging morons .
Replied to your comment concerning the Knicks and your belief they will be one of the surprise teams in the league this upcoming season.
Don’t really have a take on the WNBA situation, Al. Didn’t follow the story.
But we criticize athletes for taking a stand and we criticize them when they don’t.
I don’t have a problem with those four NBA players asking to precede the ESPYs and give their message. Isn’t it better that they did than they didn’t?
If them doing so stops one senseless act of violence, then wasn’t them doing that a good thing?
Here’s the thing Chris , it is all well and good saying you’re going to take a stand against gun , violence , homosexuality . Then on the other hand this is the very same league that sought to use the genre and imagery of gangsta rap to sell the NBA brand to the urban and suburban youth of America. What sort of hypocritical bull$hit is that ? Many of these stars in the NBA tend to be more talk than action. It’s all bull$hit when idiots are pointing to LBJ offering scholarships and bikes at Christmas for inner city kids , but LeBron hasn’t the balls to stand up and question the business practices of Nike and the fact the company employees child labor under contract and pays those employees , albeit that the work is contracted with a Far east company . I thought quite ridiculous the four players evoked the names of athletes/activists such as Jim Brown , Ali , Bill Russell and Billie Jean King. Were they trying to compare themselves to those great icons just because they stood up in front of a television audience.
Actor Jesse Williams did more in the eight-plus minutes with his speech at the BET Honors to evoke emotion to the recent horrors than the idiocy seen with ‘melo, Chris Paul , D-Wade and LeBron.
WNBA President Lisa Borders is no different than David Stern and Adam Silver in her thinking. How the hell are you going to fine four players from expressing their right to free speech (a stop to gun violence) ? They were not inciting violence but merely expressing their thoughts by wearing T-shirts not during a game or even in practice .
should read pays those employees meager wages … well under the norm for those countries ….
For me, Melo = Meh
He’s a great scorer, but not a great player.
It’s nice that he’s so patriotic, representing USA so often…Or is it that this is the only place he can actually win something since Syracuse?
Either way, good on him.
I think we all know those athletes you mentioned haven’t had the social impact of Ali, Russell and King.
There was a time I’d argue there wasn’t as much to fight for so I’d give them a pass. That is clearly no longer the case.
So what’s the right approach? Is it leading protests? Is it coming up with statements and giving money like Jordan just did? Is it openly speaking out against leadership?
I’m not sure we know the answers to these questions.
And ya’ know what? I’m not even too sure people are listening.
The US is gonna pull down another gold. Pretty sure of that.
What I’d like to see is next season’s Carmelo 2.0. The guy’s becoming more vocal on and off the court.
I have a wager with Al that this Knicks team will win more than 40 games.
Here’s hoping I don’t have to eat my words.