That was fun.
Team USA, aka "The Redeem Team," should also now be known as "We will dunk on you even if you got a 7'6" player on your team" Team. They were in action Sunday vs. Team China featuring Yao Ming, the now New Jersey Net Yi Jianlian, and the newest addition to the Los Angeles Lakers, Sun Yue.
First of all, let me say this: nobody in the U.S. truly understands how much Yao Ming means to basketball. Dude is THE MAN in China. If you didn't watch the opening ceremonies, the man was the flag bearer and is the Chinese Ambassador for athletic affairs internationally.
But he's not the man to Chinese basketball fans. He's sixth. Kobe, LeBron, DWade, Iverson, and Carmelo all outsell Yao IN CHINA! Not the U.S., but China. The adulation continued as USA and China faced off in the opening game to decide the gold medal in men's basketball.
- In a random screenshot during the game seated together were: Jerry Colangelo, former President George H. W. Bush, President Hu Jintao, Premier Wen Jiabao, current President George W. Bush, and former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger (who was falling asleep, classic...); truly an eccletic mix of individuals. Gotta love the US representation.
- I counted roughly 11 times that the US tried to literally dunk on Chinese players. Dwight Howard was the main culprit as he dunked on Yao at least three times. Deron Williams trying to dunk on Yao Ming was a personal highlight; for one, at least trying, and then the second time with Yao fouling him into the third row.
- Z.Z. Wang everybody...
- Carlos Boozer is the weakest (yet still good) big man in Olympic basketball history. Where the heck is Amar'e Stoudemire? Boozer can't finish, and he's smallish for a big man in international competition. Amar'e can hit jumpers, be a beast inside, and now has proven to be a consistent free throw shooter. Its a head-scratcher to me.
- Team USA is going to run into some serious problems with the three-point stripe. For one, they cannot shoot it from behind the arc. For two, they can't defend anyone from shooting it. Stop helping on the inside and stay on your man (I'm looking at you, LeBron and Kobe.)
- Okay, LeBron is ridiculous. Dude had three ridiculous blocks (two of which he just took out the air with two hands), which probably made people wonder in Cleveland, "Why doesn't he play like that all the time?" I think he going to get a $60M contract from some team overseas, and he's gonna take it. I can't blame him for real, I mean competition is one thing...but getting money is getting money. His marketing money would probably double, especially from being in Europe. $60M (if he got that per year, $50M has been rumored per year to Kobe and LeBron) would be three times as much as he could get in the NBA.
- LeBron still can't hit a 15-footer.
- LeBron still will go to the rim at will. Good grief.
- If you missed the new Nike Team USA Basketball commercial with Marvin Gaye singing the national anthem, wel,l you just missed out. Better catch it on YouTube quick.
- We may have seen the end of Jason Kidd. After getting about six minutes in the first quarter, he was not seen again. It was the Chris Paul and Deron Williams show. Good luck to you, Maverick fans.
- Even though this would've never happened, Rasheed Wallace would've been the best fit for this squad. Michael Redd's minutes are forced for two reasons: #1. he plays no defense; #2. he is behind LeBron, Kobe, DWade, and Deron Williams to get minutes. Rasheed could've been a great big for Team USA; better defender than Bosh and Boozer and can shoot threes with ease. Sure, he might knockout Z.Z. Wang and cause an international incident, but hey, we gotta win the gold, right?
- Dwyane Wade's back. Lead Pipe Lock, The Miami Heat behind DWade, Matrix, and Mike Beasley will be the three seed in the 2009 NBA Playoffs.
- If you didn't get a chance to see LeBron clowning Kobe in their interview during halftime, that was classic. Especially when DWade and LeBron had their warm up shirts tucked in like Kobe's been known to wear his (a la Jordan, grrrrr... :| ) and doing the hand movements.
- Lithuania (Linas Kleiza, Sarunas Jasikevicius)
- Argentina (Manu Ginobili, Luis Scola, Andres Nocioni, Carlos Delfino)
- Greece (Sofolis Schortsanitis aka greek baby Shaq)
- Germany (w/Chris Kaman & Dirk Nowitzki)
- Spain (my pick to be in the final with USA, Gasol, J.C. Navarro, El Calderon, and company. But the player to look out for is Ricky Rubio...just trust me on this one.)
Enjoy your Sunday, folks. I'll be in Chicago for a week...get some deep-dish pizza, go to Lakeshore Drive, get me a brat from Pepe's, and try to catch a White Sox game. Oh, boy. Later, kids!