With limited star power, can the United States still win bragging rights as best basketball country in the world?
The 2014 FIBA World series is on the horizon and the US Men’s finds themselves in unfamiliar territory. Usually the cupboard of top-tier talent is fully stocked like the pantry of a nuclear bomb shelter, but this year has proved to be a different issue. For starters, household names like LeBron, Kobe, Melo and Howard are all non-participants, and they made this clear early. This year’s squad would have to be lead by the young guns of the league. The good news was, the reigning MVP, Kevin Durant was the leader of the team. Kevin is a proven leader and assuredly the right candidate to take the reigns.
Last week the finalists got together to have an open scrimmage in Las Vegas to show the world what to expect and give the guys a chance to finally compete. Then it happened, budding NBA star, Paul George suffered an unsightly broken-leg late in the scrimmage trying to defend a breakaway James Harden layup. Play was suspended nearly 15 minutes and eventually, coach Krzyxewski called off the remainder of the scrimmage due to the severity of the injury. Players and fans alike were mortified by the sight of the injury and team USA would soon lose yet another player in Kevin Durant, as he announced he would no longer participate due to fatigue issues. Many speculate that his decision was a function of George’s injury, but the fact is now someone else must step up. The US team now has reasonable concerns about not wining the tournament. Players like Derrick Rose and James Harden are expected to step up as leaders, but it remains to be seen if they are up for the task. One thing is for sure, now we really have the chance to see what this team is made of. Can Team USA still dominate?
Mark Cuban, never the Team USA fan
Mavericks’ owner, Mark Cuban told ESPN he sees the IOC (International Olympic committee) as reaping all the profits while clubs take all of the risks when it comes to athlete injuries. And fact is he has a point, an injury like Paul George’s affects his team, the Indiana Pacers more than the Olympic team. He went on to say, “the greatest trick ever played was the IOC convincing the world that the Olympics were about patriotism and national pride instead of money,” Although many could call Cuban’s remarks sour grapes, because he in fact is an entity that profits off the toil of the NBA players just as does the IOC. Still he contends, “The (IOC) is playing the NBA,” Cuban said. “The IOC is an organization that has been rife with corruption. The IOC (makes) billions of dollars.
Article contributed by: Cliff Franks