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USA Basketball Measured Against the World

Rufus on Fire continues its ongoing series of quotes from America's Dream Team: The Quest for Olympic Gold, about the 1992 Dream Team...

PAGE 173, Chuck Daly

The other nations knew what they were getting into when they voted to open the Olympics to NBA players. And remember, we voted against that move. The other countries wanted it because they had a vision of how to improve over the long run. Every basketball player, in fact, every serious athlete, knows that his or her performance can only be improved by playing against other competitors who have developed superior skills... These games are a measuring stick for the rest of the world, so they can see where they stand and how far they have to go.

The story we're being fed is that the United States basketball teams of the past few years have failed to focus, and weren't actually populated with the best available players, anyway. From that point of view, international competition hasn't been a real measuring stick at all. So the story goes, with Dwyane Wade returning to form, Kobe leading the team on defense, and everyone subsuming their egos for the sake of harmonious hoops, the domination has returned.

I'm not here to piss on the proceedings, far from it. The Redeem Team is as free as any team we've seen in ages, and Coach K, the right wing military man(!), is leading them with a post-position, post-strategy, system. Note: LeBron James played a few minutes as the nominal center against Australia.

However, the real story is not that the US is dominating again, but that said domination is not all that different from sixteen years ago. The air of invincibility is gone, but they still roll. Where is the rest of the world?