9 Storylines from Kobe and ‘Redeem Team USA’ winning gold
The end result, an American triumph, was never really in doubt (even though Spain held their own in the championship game). ‘Victory’ was guaranteed when veteran superstars like Kobe Bryant and Jason Kidd committed to Stars and Stripes for the 2007 Americas Tournament and beyond …
They’ve officially been redeemed. On Saturday/Sunday, Team USA atoned for past international losses by capturing the Olympic gold medal in basketball with a 118-107 win over Spain.
The end result, an American triumph, was never really in doubt (even though Spain were trailing by just four late in the final quarter) ‘Victory’ was really guaranteed when veteran superstars Kobe Bryant and Jason Kidd committed to ‘Stars-and-Stripes’ for the 2007 Americas Tournament and beyond.
Bryant and Kidd joined Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade, and LeBron James to give America their best squad since the 1992 Dream Team.
Of course, this produced an anti-climatic ending -like the good guy prevailing in an action flick or the male and female leads embracing at the end of a sappy romantic comedy accompanied by an even sappier Celine Dion tune.
But the process, the Olympic tournament, produced several storylines, each worth further reflection. Here are nine things we learned from basketball in Beijing:
- #1 The Obvious: When their best buy-in, Team USA is still basketball’s top dog. What would the result have been if interior defenders Tim Duncan and/or Kevin Garnett signed on for the program?
- #2 The Not So Obvious: Kobe Bryant can dominate without scoring. Sure, ‘Black Mamba’ chipped-in offensively, but the baddest two-man on the planet contributed by ‘Bruce Bowening’ (without the knees, elbows, and undercuts) the other team’s best scorer.
- #3 Really, Move Over Jason Kidd: In case you missed last season, Chris Paul and Deron Williams once again proved they’re better point guards than Kidd. The youngsters rightfully received the majority of minutes at the one-spot.
- #4 Chris Bosh Plays Defence: CB4 confused critics by becoming an interior stopper and bringing blue-collar muscle off the bench. Can he play both ends for Toronto next year, though?
- #5 Flash’s Return: Dwyane Wade has recovered after two years of injury and sub-par play. Look for Flash to continue his renaissance in South Beach –provided he stays healthy, of course.
- #6 Superstar Pine-Timers: Give Carlos Boozer, Michael Redd, and Tasyhaun Prince credit. This star trio could’ve pouted about their reserve status, but instead stayed ready and positive on the sideline.
- #7 Spain The Beast: No Jose Calderon. And no escape from questions over an inappropriate photo. No problem. The Spanish once again showed they are an elite squad by qualifying for the gold medal game and hanging with ‘Redeem Team’.
- #8 Luis Scola Can Play: The Argentine post is an international superstar. He was the best player at last year’s Americas’ Tournament. At Beijing, against Team USA, he hit for 28 points and 11 rebounds in 34 minutes of action. Expect big things in Houston next year.
- #9 Patrick Mills NBA Bound: Simply put, Team USA had no answer for Mills’ quickness. The ‘Aussie’ reminds me of a young Tony Parker and, depending on his progress in college, could be in an NBA training camp come September of 2009.