OK, it’s not like anyone’s really surprised the USA Men’s Basketball team made it to the final round. Despite all the hoopla and drama surrounding whether or not a team consisting of LBJ, the Black Mamba, CP3, DWill, and Durantula could hang with the overseas market, the Dream Team (… er … III?) destroyed Argentina 109-83 with a plethora of 3-point bombs that made even Manu Ginobili a bit more humble. (Afterwards, Tim Duncan was seen congratulating the Americans, to which Ginobili cried, “Timmy! Oh Timmy, don’t listen to them! How can they say they’re your friends …”)
I’m not going into game specifics here: LBJ rocked the first quarter, Durant lit it up in the third, and Melo finished the game off with four 3-pointers in the fourth. Nuff said.
I would like to mention, however, that the Olympics have a magical quality to them that has yet to be rivaled in professional sports. All four of you who read this site on a regular basis will know that I hate LeBron James. I hate him the way I hate pickles. I hate him the way I hate Batman and Robin. I hate him the way I hate Kobe Bryant. He’s a cocky, media groomed sap who screwed Cleveland and took his talents to South Beach. The bastard even won a ring – and put up fantastic numbers to boot. That really pisses me off, because I have nothing to use against the man! (Example conversation: Me – Bron didn’t do anything in those finals! It was all Miller! Dad – Bron had a triple double! Me – Damn it.) That makes me hate him even more.
The Olympics, however, provide a nice cooling off period – an opportunity for the fires to subside in favor of watching pure, exciting, unadulterated basketball at its finest. Did you see LeBron’s dunk in, what was it, the second quarter? A quick cut to the lane and BAM! Ownage. Did you see those 3-point shots Kobe was taking to kick the game off? Priceless. Did you see Melo’s near-halfcourt trey that threw the entire USA bench into a wild break-dance session? Amazing.
I normally detest all of those players. And yet, today found myself rooting for them. Even in light of the ridiculous Dwight Howard trade (which really isn’t as dramatic as it probably could have been – for the record I think Denver got a lot better; LA looks like a strong team with a lot of holes), I still couldn’t conjure any hate towards Kobe. None. I was actually rooting for him to win … I even told my dad, “Man, I’m excited to see all the new teams this season! Should be fun!” WTF?
I’ve been hoodwinked, nay, hypnotized I tell you! I did not cheer those men on! I did not kill that man! I did not have sexual relations with that woman! As much as I deny it, I found myself transfixed by the beauty of the game. Maybe it was the lack of flopping, or the joy of seeing the best in the NBA (or the guys that typically screw my team over) playing on my side for a change. It took a while for me to warm up, especially to James, but here I am hoping he gets a gold medal.
Perhaps that’s why we have the Olympics every four years. Forget all of that nation vs. nation stuff. It’s really a diabolical plan concocted by the Commish to unite NBA fans in a way that makes his totally unfair league seem less like a multi-billion dollar business run by multi-billionaires and more like a game featuring the world’s top athletes. As it should.
So, for now, I’ll ignore the mind numbing, completely biased in-your-face-new-collective-bargaining-agreement-trades and cheer on James and co. as they go for gold.
Maybe the Olympics really are magic.