Friday, 3 August 2012
TEAM USA, LONDON 2012 OLYMPICS Feature: EIGHTY-THREE
It Was All A Dream.
By TIM DAVID HARVEY
It was all a dream. Like Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird, but it was Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Kevin Durant. it was all a dream, like '92 but more like 83. More like Carmelo Anthony. More than a dream, this was reality...history. As Team USA beat Nigeria by 83 points in an 156-73 blowout takeover they did more than show the 2012 London Olympics that they are worth more than the jersey tugging bragging and the logo popping boasting bravado. 83 points! Most teams in a game fail to even score 83 points (see Nigeria)-even if they win-let alone 156 points (see the U.S.). Just incredible.
They rewrote the history books as they changed the game. You think 30 for 37 in the paint is great? How about a U.S. record 29 three-pointers to go with an Olympic record leading points made? Or how about New York's Carmelo Anthony topping former Knick Stephon Marbury and all American Olympians in points scored with 37 (to go with 10 out of 12 from downtown London)? Here's guessing those who thought 'Melo was outside the leagues Holy Trinity of Kobe, LeBron and Durant need to get on their knees and pray for forgiveness to the basketball Gods. The same Gods who have just blessed us with a heaven sent hoop dream.
This team is more than 'Melo and LeBron's country big-three however. That's proved by tournament standout and Durant teammate Russell Westbrook's 21 point play. Right through to shoe-in 'Rookie Of The Year' and college champion Anthony Davis-who even in this tournament is raising more than his one eyebrow-this roster is deep and decadent. From the top Point Guard due of Deron Williams and Chris Paul to the heart filled play of guys like Kevin Love, Tyson Chandler, James Harden and Andre Igudola and all those 'damn' inducing dunks. This team-with a sick note list lack of big men-is therefore faster and flowing like water whilst pouring in the points and treating the baskets like wells.
Well, well, well. This writer was searching for the right article to capture this team in this tournament and show why they awake shades of the 1992 Dream Team that took to Barcelona. After the 83 point, ground-breaking and earth-shaking game this is it. Sure nothing bests the original. Especially when words like 'Magic' and 'Mike' bring excitement to hoop heads like Channing Tatum movies do to girls. Still this current 'Dream Team' that deserves the sequel moniker more than the 1996 home Atlanta squad. They're just that close and just that good.
Just that great. Sure they may have beat a Nigerian squad whose nation this week debuted the new 'Eric the Eel' in; Hamadou Djibo Issaka. A 35 year old rower-with only months experience-who finished and clocked 1 minute 40 behind the leader. Still this athletic, NBA and Georgia Tech jacket certified national team are far from amateur. Trouble is so are the 21 and under rule defying USA squad...far, far from it. The team that went double and downtown on their 40 point, exhibition drubbing of host Team GB in Manchester showed class and sportsmanship in this one too. They even held back. From turning dunks to lay-ups. To the classy classic Coach K calling his Kobe Doberman and dogs in on a leash. Can you imagine if they didn't? Can you fathom what's next? It's about to look like gold.
The great Team USA dominated beyond the hype and buzz and the stats and box-score. This was more than the names on the back of the jersey or the country on the front. This was why we love the game. A basketball masterclass was in session masquerading as what looked like a video-game in play. Numbers don't give this epic event the weight and gravitas it deserves. Neither do words from the greatest of writers, let alone this humble blogger. The simple eloquence of an unbelievable 'WOW' in all-caps can't even do it. Maybe the Jordanesque shrug from Carmelo says it all. I don't know...but this truly is what dreams are made of.