My photo
Berlin, Frankfurt, Paris, Chapel Hill, Boston, Istanbul, Calgary, Washington DC, Austin, Tunis, Warszawa and counting

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Basketball outside the US

Josh Childress a sixth man with Atlanta last season signed with Olympiacos (Tue Hoop & ESPN). Brandon Jennings is also going to play in Europe (True Hoop & ESPN). As a European baller having spent a lot of time in the United States this feels really good. No matter how long the US has not won gold at either the Olympics nor the World Championship (10 years by now?), American arrogance on US basketball prowess has never diminished. Even my educated basketball friends that have been to Europe claim before every Olympics that the US will destroy its competition, pointing to the superior American roster (on a name recognition basis). Of course they are right, LeBron, Carmelo, Kobe, Dwight Howard, Chris Paul (and the list goes on), this will be a collection of great player. That just doesn't mean that they will win. Last time around the Greeks killed the US in the fourth quarter by playing a high pick-and-roll for what seemed like 10 consecutive posessions. Argentina destroyed (and I mean destroyed, I believe they were up by 18 at some point) the US a few years earlier on this advanced and innovative play called back-door screens.

Basketball is not solely an American sport anymore. Period. It might have never been, but that's a different argument. Americans have started going to Europe to make money. Europeans (+ Argentina) have started to beat the US regularly. I am walking on a court in the US and people have more respect once they realize that I am European because they know it'll mean I can shoot.

I just hope at some point people will start to realize that once you step on a court, it's 5 people on each side, and your name don't mean nuttin'. It's how you play (international in this case) basketball. Carmelo Anthony for example will possibly be the best player on the US team again. Kobe or LeBron might be more suited for isolation plays with no one calling traveling on fast break dunks (hi there LeBron), but Anthony adapts better to a (more effective imho) passing game. So, the Americans can lose against Greece, against Russia, against Argentina, against Spain, fuck, against Germany (well, maybe not, but then Dirk and the new German hick Mr Kaman might go off in the same game, you never know). Are they still favorites when it comes down to it? Of course, but so they were the last 10 years. As much as I like American basketball, as much as I follow the NBA (and UNC since last year), as much as I prefer playing in the US over most games in Germany or France, I hope y'all lose, just so you finally begin to realize that the game is not dominated by the US anymore. That's over.

No comments: