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Monday , Aug , 08 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Report: Kobe to represent USA at 2012 Olympics

Kobe Bryant is a yes whatever happens, according to a source close to the 34-year-old; Bryant badly wants a second gold medal to go with the one he won in '08.

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: If you’re starting a team, Kobe Bryant isn’t a bad place to start.

Reports indicate the Los Angeles Lakers superstar has already committed to being a part of the American national squad that will look to defend its gold medal at the 2012 Olympcs in London, England.

Bryant deserves credit for wanting to represent his country. The rest of the 2008 gold medal-winning squad from Beijing found an excuse not to participate in the FIBA World Championships in Turkey.

(Bryant was badly injured. The young American squad still won in Turkey because of chemistry, discipline, and Kevin Durant’s fine play.)

This time around, Bryant is in. His age doesn’t matter; same with his battered, bruised body. And he doesn’t care if the NBA is still mired in an ugly labour dispute.

Bryant wants to play for the United States. Here's the question: do his superstar peers share his passion?

--Oly Sandor.

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Monday , Sep , 13 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Kevin Durant and Team USA win FIBA World Championship -without LeBron, D-Wade, or Melo

Kevin Durant scored 28 points to lead Team USA to an 81-64 victory over Turkey to win the gold medal at the World Championships in Istanbul.

It marked the American's first World Championship title since 1994. Durant set a record at the tournament for the most points scored by a U.S. player.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Who needs LeBron? Who needs D-Wade? Who needs `Melo?

Not Team USA.

Mike Krzyzewski’s squad didn’t need the superstars from their gold medal winning team in Beijing –most of whom passed on the FIBA World Championship to rest and relax the summer away.

This version of Stars and Stripes had Kevin Durant, who scored at will. They also had a collectivist, team-first approach that would have made Mao, Che, and Stalin proud.

For their efforts, they also have a gold medal, beating the host Turkish side 81-64 to win America’s first FIBA World Championship since 1994.

Here’s where it gets interesting: will Coach ‘K’ take this squad to the 2012 Olympics or will he take the superstars who decided to skip the World Championship?

Either way, it’s a rather nice problem to have.

--Oly Sandor.

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Friday , Aug , 27 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Nenad Krstic suspended three Serbian games for chair-tossing brawl

Nenad Krstic has been suspended for Serbia's next three games for throwing a chair during last week's brawl with Greece. FIBA also fined both national federations.

Serbia's Milos Teodosic is banned two games. His fight with Greece's Antonis Fotsis started the melee.

 
HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Don't do the crime, if you can't do the time.
 
Nenad Krstic must feel badly missing the first three games of the FIBA World Championship because of his chair-tossing antics in last week's Serbia-Greece friendly.
 
 
 (Watch this little donnybrook one more time.)
 
But he's lucky. Somebody could have been seriously hurt. And FIBA could have easily suspended him the entire tournament.
 
Three games is nothing. Suppose Krstic went chair crazy during an NBA game. Commissioner David Stern would have handed down a ten game suspension without blinking.
 
Unfortunately, the timing stinks. The World Championships happen once very four years. So Krstic should have known better and kept his cool.
 
--Oly Sandor.
 
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Thursday , Aug , 19 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Nenad Krstic goes chair crazy in Greece-Serbia brawl

HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: The headline says it all -Greece and Serbia in a bench-clearing, chair throwing brawl.

And somewhere, Commissioner David Stern is breathing a sigh of relief that this donnybrook occured outside of NBA confines and on FIBA turf.

After all, how many games would Corporal Stern give Oklahoma City Thunder post Nenad Krstic for making like a WWE manager and hitting the Greeks with a chair?   

Update: Krstic was arrested and released by Greek police for 'an infraction against the law of sports violence'. I didn't know there were laws to 'sports violence', but apparently there is, and Krstic went 'against' them.

--Oly Sandor.

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Wednesday , Aug , 11 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Yao Ming missing World Championship to heal for Houston Rockets?

No chance at all he (Yao Ming) puts on a uniform at the Worlds. He’s coming off the injury. He’s slowly getting back into his individual workouts. He won’t be cleared by then. (Robert Donewald, Chinese national team coach) 

HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call:
China’s loss is the Houston Rockets’ gain.

Yao Ming will not suit up for China at the upcoming FIBA World Championship in Turkey because the 7-6 pivot is still recovering from a foot injury which forced him to miss the entire 2010 season.

For China, the loss is obvious. They were manhandled on the low block in an 82-60 loss against an upstart and scrappy Canadian team at the Jack Donahue International Classic in Vancouver, BC.

Bigger, muscular posts will have their way with the slighter Chinese bigs in Turkey.

What`s bad for China is good for Houston. The Rockets re-signed their key free agents this off-season, and are looking forward to a full training camp with scorer Kevin Martin, who was acquired at the trade deadline from the Sacramento Kings.

So Yao is skipping the intense two-week World Championship to try to return for the NBA season.

This is wise. Former Toronto Raptor Jorge Garbajosa compromised his NBA career by going against GM Bryan Colangelo’s wishes and playing for Spain at the European Championship before his ankle had fully healed.

Of course, the stakes are higher for Houston than Toronto. Garbajosa was a useful glue-guy; Yao is an elite center.

Come to think of it, the stakes are high for Yao, too. The perennial All-Star has said he’ll retire if his foot doesn’t heal.

Perhaps, China’s loss is Houston and Yao’s gain.

--Oly Sandor.

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Wednesday , Jul , 21 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Kevin Durant to lead undermanned Americans at World Championship

For the NBA's youngest scoring champion, Kevin Durant has displayed some kind of maturity. With Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and the rest of the Beijing Olympic team taking the summer off, USA Basketball's roster is wide open for next month's world championships in Turkey. championships.

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: He will be the leader for USA Basketball at the FIBA World Championship in Turkey.

Three years into his NBA career, Kevin Durant has impressed. He has helped the Oklahoma City Thunder become the team to watch. He has become an elite player. And he has handled himself with class.

However, the global spotlight will be unlike anything he has ever faced.

The international game is different than the NBA. Other national teams have played together for years, establishing chemistry, while the Americans are making do with a summer training camp.

And stars and stripes are undermanned, with every player on the gold medal winning squad from China passing on Turkey. That's right: No Kobe, LeBron, 'D-Wade', 'Melo, Chris Bosh, or even twelfth man Carlos Boozer.

The entire Redeem Team is out. They all said thanks, but no thanks. 

Whether by default or not, Durant is The Man. He and his teammates will face a significant challenge.

--Oly Sandor.

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