Well it’s all over and done with . With what USA Basketball had set out to achieve they’ve accomplished with great aplomb. In defeating Spain to win the gold medal at the Olympic games. Team USA did a great deal to resurrect the integrity that’d been lost after their abysmal showing at the World Championships in 2006 . And then offcourse there was the even more embarrassing debacle of the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece.
Juan Carlos Navarro of Spain contests a ball with the US’s Chris Paul during the men’s finals of the Olympic basketball tournament. The United States defeated Spain 118-107 in the finals. picture appears courtesy of afp/getty images/Filippo Monteforte ……….
Under the auspicies of managing director of USA Basketball Chief Executive Jerry Colangelo, the coaching staff of Mike Krzyzewski, Nate McMillan , Mike D’Antoni and Jim Boeheim . They’ve restored the national pride in the game and even more so internationally. And nowhere was this more self evident than in the applause and support shown to them by their hosts in China and the fans also. The gold medal matchup against the current world champions Spain had all of enticing fervor that one could’ve expected.
Dwight Howard (c) of the United States shows his defensive prowess in facing Spains Rudy Fernandez in the men’s basketball finals of the Olympic games . picture appears courtesy of afp/getty images/Thomas Coex …………….
After going through the preliminary rounds of group tournament play and the elimination rounds. This final’s matchup lived up to and met everyone’s expectations. The thinking was the team hadn’t been tested by their earlier opponents. And if it was indicative by the average margin of victory, of 34 points. It was clear that Spain hadn’t read the script. It wasn’t their intention of making this final a walkover for the Americans. The athleticism that the US brought along with their high power offensive prowess would have to be negated by cerebral play offered by Spain.
Dwayne Wade of team USA dishes an assist as Spain’s Alex Mumbru tries to defend the play during the men’s Olympic basketball finals. picture appears courtesy of afp/getty images/ Thomas Coex …………….
A team that was made of up of some of the NBA’s top stars left their egos at the door and bought into the teachings of Krzyzewski . They played as a team and carried themselves professionally on and off the court throughout their run in the tournament. And in this respect both Kobe Bryant and Lebron James are to be commended upon that as co-team captains. A blend of age , youth , the veteran and calming influence of Jason Kidd went a long way in creating much of the success that we’ve all witnessed at these games. And it to bode well for the future concerning the ambitions team USA basketball internationally. The 2010 World Championships and then the Olympics of London 2012 will most certainly be on everyone’s lips. If nothing else the younger players on the team’s roster will have had their appetites as to what the game will bring for them internationally.
Kobe Bryant (10) of team USA drives to the basket evading the defensive play of Spain’s Rudy Fernandez. picture appears courtesy of nbae/getty images/ Garrett Ellwood ……………
The game itself was close in certain aspects but team USA showed why it was that they were the presumptive favorites for the tournament. They stamped their authority on this game down the final stretches of it, leaving no one in any doubt as to what had been their overall intent from the outset. That was to win big, restore pride and respect for the US’s game domestically as well as internationally. And in achieving this success it can be said that they’ve accomplished that. Kobe Bryant excelled and showed why it was that he was seen as the tournament’s best player. He led by example and his teammates followed willingly. With no disrespect to Paul Pierce whose claim that he’s the best player on the planet. If that’s the case then Bryant would rules the universe and beyond. But then again Pierce’s world may well just encapsulate what he sees when stares at himself in the mirror.
Carmelo Anthony of team USA scores from a layup whilst his teammate Kobe Bryant looks on. picture appears courtesy of afp/getty images/Dusan Vranic ………..
The 118-107 though a much smaller margin of victory on appearance went a long way in suggesting that at times the game was very competitive. Dwayne Wade scored 27 pts, along with contributions from Byant 20 pts and James 14 pts, bore the brunt of providing the team’s scoring. But there also some solid contributions from Chris Paul 14 pts and Carmelo Anthony 13 pts. Defensively at times the team was stretched by the play of the Spanish. They were led with some authority by Rudy Fernandez 22 pts, Pau Gasol 21 pts and Juan Carlos Navarro 18 pts. But in the end there wasn’t much that Spain could do once team stamped their authority on the game.
Pau Gasol of Spain sees the finality of it all the result suggests the inevitability of it all. picture appears courtesy of afp/photo/Filippo Monteforte ………………….
In affixing the label Team Redemption to this roster of players placed a burden of added pressure that certainly wasn’t justified. If anything the malaise of former teams that had borne and were entrusted in representing the country did themselves a great disservice by way of their errant play. One could well understand the complacency that’d set in. As many of the players in question who’d represented team USA were of the belief that before setting foot on the court their opponents would feel intimidated. As evidenced by those results their belief was a misguided one.
Teammates Chris Bosh , LeBron James and Kobe Bryant in the background celebrate their defeat of Spain the men’s Olympic basketball finals. The victory meant that team USA had secured the country’s first gold medal in the event since their win in Brisbane , Australia , in 2000. picture appears courtesy of afp/getty images/ Filippo Monteforte ………
That fall from grace led to the insistence of team USA Chief Executive Jerry Colangelo that there had to be a long term commitment in resuming the prestige and reputation internationally of the team and its basketball pedigree . The players bought into the idea of his commitment to the team for three years. The training and playing together against teams domestically as well as international teams went a long way in justifying Colangelo’s dream. And that has certainly manifested itself with this team winning the gold medal. The sense of foreboding now has been replaced with a great deal of pride and joy. And with the women’s making this a clean sweep in terms of team play by winning their fourth consecutive gold medal at the Olympics. It can be said the the teams have acquitted themselves well.
They took on and defeated the very best that the world had to offer with a great deal of ease and at the same time conducted themselves with dignity and grace.