The US basketball team moves cyclically.
Firstly, there is a defeat: Team USA failed to win gold three times, every 16 years in a row, first at the Munich Games in 1972, then at the Seoul Games in 1988, then again at the Athens Games in 2004.
As Next, there is a sudden surge in superstar interest: after the 1988 games, international rules changed so that NBA players could participate in the Olympics, and in 1992, the United States put the Dream Team on the largest collection of basketball talents in the world History of the sport. In response to the 2004 defeat, America put together a similarly great team at the Beijing Games, the Redeem Team. Both won gold medals as the stars of the game brought the Stars and Stripes back on the podium.
And then comes a steady decline in interest that is generally ignored as the victories keep coming. Four years after the victories of 1
Twelve Years Later The Dream Team was the Olympic basketball team led by Stephon Marbury in 2004, losing to Puerto Rico by 19 (!!!). However, this was predicted by an unbelievably bad World Cup team from 2002, led by 37-year-old Reggie Miller, heavily relying on Ben Wallace's offense. This team finished sixth in the World Cup, which for some reason took place in Indianapolis. These losses ended the last cycle of Team USA basketball or perhaps started the current one.
At the moment, the team seems to be responsible for a loss and a rebirth. Monday, Dan Devine of The Ringer wrote about how Damian Lillard looked like the only elite talent not yet eliminated from the USA squad for the upcoming World Cup in China. Lillard got out on Tuesday. Of the eleven Americans named to the All-NBA team last year, only one, Kemba Walker, has not yet withdrawn from the 2019 FIBA World Cup list. Invitees of the training camp include Marcus Smart, Thaddeus Young and P.J. Tucker. Presumably, more players will be attracted to the opportunity to participate in the Olympic Games next year, but the selection is low World Cup. Yes, posting NBA players of medium skill seems embarrassing, but only another country (Canada) can even send a whole 12-member group of NBA players to international competitions, and the Canadians are likely to launch Kelly Olynyk. Serbia appear to be the biggest threat to the title hopes of Team USA, with Nikola Jokic in the middle and a squad full of NBA-side players. Greece has the reigning NBA MVP, Giannis Antetokounmpo, but little else. France is the NBA defensive player of the year, Rudy Gobert, and has a total of 11 NBA players. Most, however, are edge NBA players or development projects.
But I'm not sure Team USA have a good team The chance to win the World Cup is good news. The top US teams from 1992 to 1996 and from 2008 to 2012 – the legendary teams formed in response to American losses – are the best that has ever happened to international basketball.
It's fascinating to watch the best players in the world side by side in a competitive environment where they need to figure out how to work together. Team USA is an attempt to push the boundaries of basketball to see how good 12 players can be – and international basketball is an attempt by the rest of the world to capture the Americans. At the moment Team USA is just trying to see how untalented a squad can be to get away with it. Either the USA team wins, noting that its second-rate players are still better than the best of others or anyone else, and the discussion is more likely to be an indictment of America's wear and tear than a celebration of the global growth of the sport.
As jingoistic as I am in international sports, I would rather see America sending and losing its best team to an international basketball tournament (which, to be honest, has never happened) than winning the B-team , Nothing is more boring than disinterested dominance, and when most of America's best players sit at home and the team still wins, that's international basketball.
I understand why the big names expose. These guys earn up to $ 40 million a year. They all saw Paul Georges leg burst in a Team USA camp before the 2014 World Cup, and they're being asked to risk it for their pride and the chance to win gold. Do you know how much gold you need to reach $ 40 million? About a ton. (Seriously, gold costs about $ 1,500 an ounce, so count on.) But embarrassing international losses make the NBA most likely to do some summer homework. And if Team USA continues to send squads like this year's World Cup team into international play, it will ultimately lose. We have already seen the cycle once.
The question is, in which part of the basketball cycle of Team USA are we? Have we reached the point where an awkward team is ashamed and revives interest in international basketball? Or are we still in the third part, where an unforgettable team scrapes together a gold medal achievement and continues the status quo.
I only know: When the Olympics start next year in Tokyo, it's been 16 years The last defeat in the US team's Olympic basketball, 16 years after the defeat of the previous US team, the 16 years before the defeat of the previous team USA. Maybe it's a coincidence, or maybe it's 16 years, until American basketball stars forget that it's possible to lose on the world stage.