While most of the national media outlets are debating on which Dream Team (1992 vs. 2012) would be the last team standing (prompted by Kobe Bryant’s remarks earlier in the week), there seems to be more of a pressing question beginning to surface(at least in my mind). With the recent knee injury to the Los Angeles Clippers Blake Griffin (days after signing a $95 million dollar contract, mind you), the question must be asked; is the risk (competing directly after the season) worth the reward (representing your country)?
Most people would answer that question with an emphatic yes. Those same people would probably argue that there is no greater feat than representing your country in the Olympics. And although I certainly wouldn’t disagree with that sentiment, I firmly believe that it’s time to do away with professional NBA players representing the United States in the Olympics.
Here’s the thing, the USA Basketball Team has always thrived during Olympic play. Dating back to its inception in 1936, the USA Basketball Team has dominated its international competition to the tune of 13 gold medals. Even more impressive, the USA Basketball team has only lost a total of 5 games (during Olympic play) since it started competing back in 1936 (123-5). Nine of those gold medals were won before FIBA (FIBA=International Basketball Governing Body) even allowed NBA players to partake during the summer festivities (1989). That meant that the United States was already dominating Olympic basketball merely with amateurs straight out of college. Players like Bill Russell (1956), Jerry West (1960), Oscar Robertson (1960), Adrian Dantley (1976), Isiah Thomas (1980), and even Michael Jordan (1984) represented their country as amateurs. All of those amateur athletes ended up delivering gold medals for their country.
Listen, I’m not going to lie, the 1992 Dream Team was a site to behold. Watching Jordan, Magic, Bird and Barkley compete on the same court was truly an awesome spectacle. However, after watching the United States dismantle their competition by an average margin of 43 points per game during those Olympics, one thing became painfully apparent; this was going to get old real fast. And it has. Aside from the 2004 Olympic Team which lost three games (players like Vince Carter, Ray Allen, and Jason Kidd opted not to participate), the USA Basketball team has compiled a record of 32-0 since FIBA made its ruling to allow NBA players to participate in the Olympics.
Enough is enough. We get it. The world gets it.
The Dream Team took the World by Storm back in 1992
There have been whispers from NBA commissioner David Stern that these Olympics could represent the last time we see a so-called “Dream Team” assembled for Olympic play. If it happens (which I believe it will), you will likely see an age limitation assigned beginning in 2016 (probably 22 and under).
Just for fun, here are the amateurs that I would have assembled for the 2012 Olympic Team:
- Cody Zeller (Freshman, Center) Indiana
- Jeff Withey (Senior, Center) Kansas
- James McAdoo (Freshman, Power Forward) North Carolina
- Doug McDermott (Sophomore, Power Forward) Creighton
- Deshaun Thomas (Sophomore, Small Forward) Ohio State
- C.J. Leslie (Sophomore, Small Forward) N.C. State
- Andre Roberson (Sophomore, Power Forward) Colorado
- Isaiah Canaan (Junior, Point Guard) Murray State
- Trey Burke (Freshman, Point Guard) Michigan
- C.J. McCollum (Junior, Shooting Guard) Lehigh
- Jamaal Franklin (Junior, Shooting Guard) San Diego St.
- Michael Snaer (Junior, Shooting Guard) Florida State
What are your thoughts on who should be representing the Unites States in the Olympics?
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