Since the Dream Team launched international basketball into the moon, the heart and soul of American Olympic dominance has been on the hardwood. For 10 years, red, white and blue was spray painted over a 29.5 circumference and bounced around the court before it was able to dry. Football may be America’s bread and butter, but basketball was its Olympic meat and potatoes.
That was until it all spiraled into a pool of gasoline. In 2002 the US team competed and lost in the World Championship in Indianapolis, Indiana. The team placed sixth in international competition, and it was the first time that an international team was able to defeat a US team composed of NBA players. As embarrassing as the loss was, the defeat was labeled a fluke and supporters pointed to the many NBA stars that declined to play.
But in 2004 Olympics “The Nightmare Team” took the court in Athens, Greece. Nine starters from the qualifying team declined to play, and the team brought home a bronze medal and cold, grey shame. American Olympic dominance on the court was officially cracked, and the its aura of invincibility shattered.
American basketball became and international symbol of American arrogance, and the whole world enjoyed watching the ground coming to kiss the yanks in the jaw.
An overhaul was needed to amputate the invading infection, and the entire program was revamped. Jerry Colangelo and coach Mike Krzyzewski were placed as the heads of US Basketball, and the program started to ask participants to agree to a three-year commitment. Since the patch up, two gold medals have followed, and America seems poised to once again reign supreme in international play.
Yesterday U.S. basketball announced its potential roster of 20 NBA stars for the 2012 London Olympics. The roster is deep. Really deep. 20 players are in consideration to play but that number will be whittled down to a 12-man roster with alternates.
Here’s the pool: Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Lamar Odom, Chauncey Billups, Chris Bosh, Carmelo Anthony, Dwight Howard, Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Kevin Durant, Derrick Rose, Tyson Chandler, Eric Gordon, Rudy Gay, Russell Westbrook, Kevin Love, and Andre Iguodala.
Blake Griffin and LaMarcus Aldridge have also been added to that list.
Buzz is already worming its way through the Internet and people have started to throw the term “dream team” out there again. It seems like America finally has its hoops swagger back.
Here’s our 12-man roster:
Kobe, LeBron, Wade, Howard, Paul, Durant, Rose, Love, D. Williams, Melo, Chandler and Aldridge
With our starters being: Rose, Kobe, LeBron, Love and Howard.
Griffin, Gordon, Westbrook.
Maybe it’s that KD is driving a conversion van instead of an Italian supercar, maybe it’s Sam Cooke’s vocals mixed with shots of the wind-seared barns and dusty courts, maybe it’s the mixture of lights and metal nets hanging above players young and old, maybe it’s just our weekend euphoria festering into mushy sentiment but.. we love this commercial: