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Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Rooting Against America

No, this isn't a post accusing liberals of lacking patriotism; I'm referring to Olympic basketball. I just watched Germany nearly pull of the second upset of the star-laden USA squad in as many days, coming on the heels of the NBA studs' embarrassing 17-point defeat yesterday against Italy. I found myself pulling for Germany from the start, and I wondered to myself whether I was doing anything wrong.

You see, it's natural for people to cheer on the underdog, so how can you not love it when Dirk Nowitzki and a YMCA All-Star team is trading baskets with a group loaded with NBA millionaires? Is love of country supposed to trump such an instinctive emotional response? Beyond all of that, I simply like watching competitive basketball. Seeing the US team destroy everyone and put on a dunking exhibition gets boring fast. Seeing two teams digging deep to try to seize victory is a much more fulfilling viewing experience for fans. Seeing the US team, having faced adversity, come back to win gold, would make for a much more compelling Athens storyline, I think.

Actual game notes: whose bright idea was it to pick a team that lacked both size and perimeter shooting? Getting Tim Duncan in foul trouble should be the strategy other teams use because if we lose TD, we're in deep trouble. And I hope the broadcasting gets better than what ESPN offered up today. The announcers were ridiculing the referees for actually calling traveling violations, unlike the NBA, and then the cameras missed the game-winning shot by Allen Iverson. Maybe we should chalk up the subpar performance by players and TV alike thus far to the Euro rock/dance mixes they have been hearing during dead balls.