August 26, 2004

U-S-A, U-S-A: Jason Whitlock, of ESPN's Page 2, thinks the hatred goes a bit deeper than many people are admitting when it comes to the Mens Olympic Basketball Team. I almost agree. I have a co-worker who was getting sheer joy from seeing the team struggle. I asked him why and he said that they were a bunch of selfish, rich NBA stars who didn't know how to represent America. When I explained to him that the selfish guys stayed home and that this team actually wants to there, he fumbled for a sec. I can't quite put my finger on it, but there is more to this backlash than their paycheck. The original Dream Team made huge money as well.

posted by gilcintron to other at 02:20 PM - 47 comments

I kind of feel like this anti-USA thing from Americans is a nice little hook that the media got and they just kind of ran with it and now have generated a feedback loop with people expressing what the media tells them they ought to be expressing. I would be interested in seeing the empirical evidence regarding people wanting this team to lose -- and I don't trust an ESPN poll that is asking people "Even in just a small sick way, are you rooting against the U.S. hoops team?" (I'm sure the poll results would have been very different if the question was "Do you want the U.S. team to win the gold medal?") or Jason Whitlock's anectdotal evidence about some hecklers at a KC Chiefs preseason game or some yahoo on his radio show (where, let's face it, yahoos make for better guests). I'm not saying that no one wants the U.S. team to do poorly, but the phenomenon seems a little overblown to me. Its easier to drum up some controversy and be an armchair sociologist than to actually do some empirical research and engage in some good reporting.

posted by holden at 02:45 PM on August 26, 2004

This is the same basketball team that is staying on a cruise ship instead of the athletes' village? Those unselfish guys?

posted by kokaku at 02:59 PM on August 26, 2004

Picking up right where Wiley left off, I see. This is ridiculous. I'm enjoying seeing them struggle because it exposes the NBA as a game of selfish 1-on-1 players.. a game I hate to watch. This struggling over there could be what forces the US game to change a bit, and become interesting to watch again. I guess that reason isn't good enough for Whitlock, and deep down I'm really a racist.

posted by Bernreuther at 03:12 PM on August 26, 2004

I'm with Bernreuther. I hate the NBA so love to see it get egg on it's facel.

posted by mick at 03:18 PM on August 26, 2004

Whoa Bernreuther, I don't know if I would make such a facile comparison. Besides the fact that both Wiley and Whitlock are proud and black, they share little in common stylistically. Wiley's politicizing was thoughtfully provocative, while Whitlock's is ham-handed self-serving puffery (that tries so hard to be like Wiley, no doubt).

posted by smithers at 03:27 PM on August 26, 2004

I'm with mick.

posted by tieguy at 03:27 PM on August 26, 2004

In their match today, the crowd booed the Americans the whole game. Towards the end, the Americans decided to call a timeout, even though they were 10 points up, and there was just 20 seconds left. The Spanish team really loved that...

posted by dng at 03:31 PM on August 26, 2004

well, i have spoken to people who have expressed their delight in seeing the team fail. they aren't radio show yahoos and they aren't even people who'd be surfing mainly computer geeks like me (i just also happen to be a sports geek.) i think i agree with holden that once the "story" became the selfish nba players, the public believed it. the guys i've spoken to about this aren't sports fans so what would lead them to believe that the nba players are selfish? they wouldn't know carlos boozer from dave chappelle. i just think that there is more to the anti-USA basketball sentiment than their paychecks. i don't know that it is racism. i think that might be a bit of a reach, but there is something else going on. shaq, tmac and vinsanity selfish? sure, i can understand that argument. they turned down the chance to represent their country, but what makes dwayne wade, lebron james and carlos boozer selfish? i think the rap that the team was getting when it was formed just stuck to these guys through no fault of their own. they play a style of basketball that all NBA players play. If more teams played like Dallas, New Jersey or Sacramento, maybe we'd be better prepared in this Olympics. If more guys finished school and got some time in against a 2-3 three zone, maybe we wouldn't look so shaky. But I don't think the fact that they make more than some of the countries in the Olympics or the fact that they sleep on a cruise ship means I should be rooting against them. They still wear my colors so of course I hope they win.

posted by gilcintron at 03:32 PM on August 26, 2004

Maybe this is what is really going on. Just throwing this out there...

posted by gilcintron at 03:39 PM on August 26, 2004

First off criticism does not necessarily equate to rooting against. The backlash against the team is, to my mind, a backlash against the NBA. They don't hate the players so much as how they play. We have two of the NBA's best guards on this team and they can't hit a 15 ft jumper between them. Basketball fans are tired of the And 1 (irony of And 1: most of those type of players would miss it) mentality and the ESPN highlight reel NBA product Stern has been feeding us. I think most real basketball fans were happy when the teamwork and defense of the Pistons dismantled the Lakers' superstars. Bern nailed it. People are just hoping we get to see some actual basketball from the NBA as the result of this. Whitlock was apparently bored and decided to play the race card for some attention. If this crap were on a message board, we would be warned not to feed the troll.

posted by pivo at 03:39 PM on August 26, 2004

Smithers, Wiley would always throw in a racial reference regardless of the situation, and Whitlock does the same, albeit with less skill. Cry "racist" in the U.S. and you've got attention. This is the only way Whitlock will ever get any attention. But I digress... There are so many reasons I root against the U.S. team, and most of them start with attitude. Whitlock thinks I should root for them simply out of patriotic zeal, but sorry, I'm not that simple. Calling me racist because I'm enjoying their struggles is simple. Watching Puerto Rico kick the U.S. team's ass was fun, plain and simple.

posted by dusted at 03:40 PM on August 26, 2004

They still wear my colors so of course I hope they win. Oh jeebus, give me a break....I'd like to think that people can think a little deeper than "they wear my colours so of course I support them."

posted by smithers at 03:40 PM on August 26, 2004

If this crap were on a message board, we would be warned not to feed the troll. I agree. Whitlock is becoming the Rush Limbaugh of the minority sports community. (And that's what I had the problem with, dusted: Wiley would throw in racial references routinely, but they were nuanced, born of experience, and often meant as illustration rather than thesis. Whitlock, on the other hand, can only think of one cause to the world's problems, and that is racism. Perhaps a small difference, but I will always defend Wiley's writing while I think that Whitlock's is a blight.) As for Bernreuther, I totally agree with the rest of your assessment of the NBA game, etc. Just that one point I wanted to make....

posted by smithers at 03:48 PM on August 26, 2004

This deserves a post of its own, but the US women's football team, winning the gold just now, represent the absolute antithesis of the basketball team. The core of that team has quite simply revolutionised the sport. The commitment of Hamm, Chastain, Foudy, Fawcett and Lilly to the national team is unquestionable. (Though that's partly because a domestic league And the fact that girls in the US could wear 'Hamm' jerseys and feel empowered by it just fills me up. They deserved to win today -- the Brazillians were dirty fuckers and should have been slapped down by the ref -- and they celebrated it with true national pride. They don't wear my national colours, but they represent the game that's closest to my heart, and their legacy goes beyond trophies and medals. Seeing them win today was just fucking great.

posted by etagloh at 04:06 PM on August 26, 2004

I'm with Bern, and I guess everybody else. This chink in the armor pleases so many on so many levels, its silly. And slightly off topic, but I imagine the international community is enjoying their struggles as well, which has something to do with it being basketball, as ballin' has become what baseball once was: america's game that is no longer singularly owned. on preview: thanks for the spoiler warning.

posted by garfield at 04:08 PM on August 26, 2004

Spoiler? NBC showed it live. No excuses.

posted by etagloh at 04:22 PM on August 26, 2004

I like Whitlock, but that article is confused. He seems to think it makes sense to criicize their selfishness or dis' their style of play, but the people who hate them because of racism are bad becasue they are, well, racists. Um, OK. He does have point about them playing hard. I think they are. I can't stand Iverson, but the current situation almost makes me feel sorry for him. He's one of the few who actually wanted to go to Athens, perhaps sensing he had a shot to change his image. He's playing hard, with a broken thumb. And all he's getting out of it is jeered. Whitlock does concede that the players don't care that much about the gold medal -- at least in comparison to the amatuers anyway. They really care more about the NBA. That's true, and so do I. That's why there's a part of me that cheers these defeats. Not because it hurts the players, but because it might make the NBA take action.

posted by dzot at 04:29 PM on August 26, 2004

crap. sorry.

posted by garfield at 04:44 PM on August 26, 2004

I can't stand Iverson ... he's playing hard, with a broken thumb. And all he's getting out of it is jeered. I guess one gutsy week doesn't erase years of being a selfish prick. And jeez, I happen to ADMIRE the guy for how hard he plays, even if he is a schmuck. I've been pleased to see the US get smacked around. Why? Because the game being played in the NBA now isn't a team game. I watched a little bit of that And 1 stuff the other night. Those guys are freaking amazing, but even they are realizing the essential problem with their style -- no one can score without dunking, and no one can play defense without fouling. As a whole, basketball in the States has degenerated into an individual's game. The style of flying high and throwing down with two hands has come at the expense of the pretty dish and the 18-foot jumper. That doesn't make those our players bad guys. It just makes them destined to lose in the international arena.

posted by wfrazerjr at 04:58 PM on August 26, 2004

Y'know, I'm down with the "I hate the NBA game" for the isolation plays, the 1 on 1 setups, etc., but that's not what's going on here. It might be what's going on at SportsFilter where the average member is well-informed sports fan (relatively speaking), but in the country as a whole, no way. The Olympics attract a lot of people who don't watch sports or don't watch a particular sport at any other time (yeah, I know there's not a lot of dressage on in the US otherwise) and it brings out all the bullshit artists with the "I only watch when it's amateurs playing for the love/ sake of the game." Basically the people who don't own a TV except these people do because how else are they watching the Olympics unless they're that big a prick they'd still posit an opinion (regardless of TV ownership or event viewing) you didn't even want to hear, you're just standing in line at the counter trying to get the hell away from here and you have to listen to some jackass tell everyone via talking to loud to his "friend" who oh-my-Keerist that sumbitch is even worse off than me 'cause he can't get away after they ring up whatever faux microbrew they're going to split 6 of (and who's happy with just 3 beers during a sports even on TV, honestly?). Which is to say my impression is a lot of the backlash that may or may not exist is white guys who went to college and got a decent job and make decent money but-- hey, how'd that happen-- aren't really happy can't stand the fact some black kid pays more in taxes for 6 months on IR then the VP they suck up to every day makes in a year. And this kid doesn't seem to realize how lucky he is. Or learn to speak "proper" English. I'll leave it to each individual to discover for themselves whether there isn't a teensy little nuggest of racism in the base of that feeling souffle that begins to collapse after Smirnov Ice #2.

posted by yerfatma at 05:18 PM on August 26, 2004

Why do I want to see the so-called Dream Team get the smackdown? Because I'm sick of NBA players getting oohs and aahs every time they fart, while WNBA players work twice as hard and don't get a tenth the respect. Because the NBA steals time, energy and attention (and, yes, dollars) from so many other sports and leagues, that it's only when people get completely disgusted with NBA and its representatives that they wake up, look around, and notice how many more worthwhile athletes are out there. Because the so-called Dream Team draws its members from a league that enshrines selfishness, excess, posing and smack-talking. Because the NBA is totally repulsive, that's why. I mean, I can't believe it. I'm watching NBC right now and they just used the phrase, "the women's dream team." Get that. The women's dream team. They can't just be "the dream team", they're not good enough for that. The men's team could lose to Argentina by 40 points, and the numbnuts of the world would still be calling them, "the dream team". Stupid.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 09:45 PM on August 26, 2004

Speaking of writers with one agenda...

posted by dusted at 10:09 PM on August 26, 2004

Yeah, good thing he's got the right agenda. :)

posted by wfrazerjr at 10:30 PM on August 26, 2004

I root against most USA teams, because NBC makes it natural. But the phrase "race card" is probably more overused than the cry of racism, especially for those afraid of self-evaluation, and for those who believe that racism only happens if you get pulled behind a truck in Jasper, TX. I like this board in general, but I swear that if Emmett Till's murder happened today, people here would say the lynching was about earrings and tattoos. Oops! And selfishness. It's one thing to bitch about Wiley or Whitlock (or just about any columnist willing to call people out on this stuff) addressing racial issues because you'd rather not hear about it. It's another to immediately discredit any person who "cries racism". This USA team is struggling because they're pretty young, not because its players are forever flawed in the character category. Compare it to experience on the team in Barcelona, a lot of guys who also entered the NBA as jumping jacks and refined their games later in mid-career. There's no reason those of the current crew can't have a similar future ahead of them. Those who don't get it, they get to be Derrick Coleman or Glenn Robinson. Until the "talented" guys grow up, USABasketball needed to bring players who knew how to play the game.

posted by jackhererra at 11:47 PM on August 26, 2004

You know, I didn't care for the original Dream Team either. I am still one of those old purists who thought it was awesome when our atheletes were true amateurs. I mean, the miracle on ice wouldn't have been nearly as miraculous if they had been pros, know what I mean? I started disliking the current Dream Team when I first started reading quotes about how they were going to breeze through the olympics. I felt that the two losses were a well deserved wake-up call to them. If you are going to go around claiming that you can't be beaten, you'd better be able to back that up by not getting beaten. Now, may the best team win. It may yet be them.

posted by Joey Michaels at 05:34 AM on August 27, 2004

dusted: Speaking of writers with one agenda... Did I strike a nerve? OP asked why people would like to see the so-called Dream Team lose; I posted my reasons. If the point escaped you, put simply, it's because a loss for them means more opportunity for others, and I'm not talking about their opponents on the basketball court.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 06:09 AM on August 27, 2004

No, you didn't strike a nerve, it's the sound of the ax on the wheel that makes everyone cringes. It's not the NBA's fault the WNBA does no business. They're both playing basketball, yes. But show me hard evidence the NBA is "stealing" (and define that word in this context for me given the NBA existed before the WNBA and the WNBA wouldn't even exist if it weren't for the NBA making basketball so popular: you'll note the difficulty of spelling WNBA without "NBA". You wind up with W) audience from the WNBA. I don't think they're replacement goods and where do you even look for a negative correlation between NBA attendance and WNBA attendance? Maybe during a strike.

posted by yerfatma at 07:02 AM on August 27, 2004

Wait a tic....there's a WNBA? I must have missed that memo ;-) Anyway, this whole article falls into the same category as the good ol' "If you don't like (apple pie, puppies, fellatio, etc.), you're Un-American" stories we've been subjected to for years. It's all a broad generalization, and I am getting tired of hearing it. "You don't like a team made up solely of black players, and you're white, so you must be a closet racist!" How simplistic and crude. There's really no basis in fact for it, either. I suppose, if Wally Szerbiak were on the team, and he was the most popular player on the otherwise black team among the American citizenry, there could be some hints of racism. But, the fact is, the team is not living up to expectations, and folks in the U.S. don't take to disappointment well. Were there any white players on the 2002 World Championships team which finished 6th overall? There was plenty of disappointment there too, but no outcry of racism. Why now? I want the team to win, and actually get upset when they don't do well, since they are representing my country. I feel that way for all the events, not just basketball, but especially basketball. It was my first love in sports, and I still enjoy it. I'm proud to see the women's side dominating. They're doing their best to represent themselves and their country well. smithers Oh jeebus, give me a break....I'd like to think that people can think a little deeper than "they wear my colours so of course I support them." I'm not entirely sure what you're getting at there...I guess I'm just not thinking deeply enough. When it comes to Olympic sports, I will follow my country first, no matter what. You're free to follow whomever you wish, but there's no call for talking down someone's allegiance to his/her country's athletes.

posted by bcb2k2 at 08:25 AM on August 27, 2004

No, you didn't strike a nerve, it's the sound of the ax on the wheel that makes everyone cringes. I love the net. It's so big and vast and there are so many echoes in here, it allows people to yell, "Hello-o-o-o!" and then marvel at all the people talking ;-) Show you the hard evidence...well, it's not quite that simple, and definitely not cheap. To get the detailed numbers on where the dollars go, you'd need to have access to something like Shaw Sports Business reports, which cost big bucks. But you don't need that kind of "hard evidence" to state that the NBA has the lion's share of the sporting fan dollars in the United States. Don't like "stealing"? Okay, substitute "act as a totally dominant marketing juggernaut that effectively prevents other sports and leagues from reaching the market". They're number one, MLB and NFL are 2 and 3 in no particular order, everybody else is waaaay back of those three. Don't care about the WNBA? That's fine, but realize that this is also what's happening to the NHL. The point's a pretty simple one: there are only so many sports dollars, if you care to look at it that way, or hours, if you care to look at it that way, because there are only so many potential spectators with only so much money and time to spend. The NBA is a triumph of marketing, but I don't think you can call it a triumph of sporting achievement. It has its most decided edge in the game of grabbing up spectator dollars and attention because of its marketing, not because it represents the pinnacle of sports excellence that can't be found in any other sport or league. It's why you can buy Coke or Pepsi but not Boylan's or RC: no, nobody's going to break your kneecaps for selling or buying the stuff; it's just that it can't get any space in the cooler. The revenue doesn't come from the butts in seats, even though the average cost for a family of four to attend an NBA game is $280. It's the jackets and the shoes and the french fries that the kids and the grownups just gotta have, because they've been effectively marketed to; it's the auto manufacturers and the mutual fund companies that want to buy commercial time on the NBA games, because they know that the NBA has hustled themselves hard enough to enough people that they'll get a lot of viewers; it's the ad budget that goes on the big NBA game and not on anything else; it's the prime time hours that go to the NBA game because that's what you can make money on. It's why Coke beats RC, and excellence is not the reason.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 08:59 AM on August 27, 2004

Put me in the camp that wants to see them struggle because it MIGHT lead to a reformation of the American game. (But it won't, what WILL lead to the reformation of the game is non-Americans taking up more and more roster spots...)

posted by vito90 at 09:27 AM on August 27, 2004

A. Unless I'm missing something, the NFL drarwfs all other comers.. B. There would be no market for the WNBA if the NBA hadn't made basketball a worldwide phenomenon. Your argument boils down to this: "I like the WNBA better than the NBA. Therefore there is something wrong with the NBA being more popular in general." The wool isn't being pulled over everyone else's eyes about the NBA v. WNBA. If I wanted to watch the NBA at half speed with less athleticism, I'd Tivo a Shaws Summer League game at watch it on slo-mo. That's my opinion and it's the feeling of a lot of sports fans I know. It's not "right"; there isn't a right or wrong here, so please stop trying to change minds about a subjective decision that matters so little. (Additionally: RC Cola, even in glass bottles, tastes like battery acid.)

posted by yerfatma at 09:27 AM on August 27, 2004

Because the NBA is totally repulsive, that's why. Did I strike a nerve? No, but I'd like you to quit beating us over the head with your agenda. You repeat it, at increasingly shriller and bolder levels, at every opportunity. We get it, you love the WNBA and hate the NBA. Thank you, drive through.

posted by dusted at 09:45 AM on August 27, 2004

How dare you sully the great name of Royal Crown! Pistols at 10 pixels

posted by mick at 09:46 AM on August 27, 2004


posted by yerfatma at 10:26 AM on August 27, 2004

Yeah, I'm with Mick. RC is kick-ass... shame it's only rarely on the shelves of my neighborhood QFC. :( on preview: you missed him! Huzzah! on reflection: "Pistols at 10 Pixels" sounds almost, but not quite, like a great band name. Maybe the name of a semi-punk all-chick band.

posted by hincandenza at 10:55 AM on August 27, 2004

There would be no market for the WNBA if the NBA hadn't made basketball a worldwide phenomenon And if all that repulsive NBA money didn't float the WNBA. And didn't let the women in on some of the AS game activities. And the NBA didn't throw a ton of marketing loot their way. Without the NBA the WNBA is a footnote in history a la the ABL and the dodo.

posted by pivo at 12:01 PM on August 27, 2004

Some people I'm sure hate the Dream Team because they're a bunch of racist pricks. I mean, if you can agree that racism exists, wouldn't you agree that this kind of situation is precisely where it would show up? Hardly earth-shattering conclusions.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 01:28 PM on August 27, 2004

You know, every four years, after the Winter games, people talk about how international ice hockey is a better game than the NHL, thanks to things like a wider rink, the 15-second faceoff rule, and no touch-ups. Then the normal sports cycle kicks in, and everyone forgets again. Similar with the NBA: people see international play, realise the deficiencies of the highlight-reel driven approach to the US game (another slam dunk, another 1-on-1) but when the season kicks in, it's business as usual. Slam dunks sell shoes. They fit into TV commercials. And the key NBA players in the foreign teams are, for the most part, big team players. But don't sell many shoes.

posted by etagloh at 02:58 PM on August 27, 2004

SPOILER USA v Argentina results

posted by Joey Michaels at 04:28 PM on August 27, 2004

I'm enjoying seeing them struggle because it exposes the NBA as a game of selfish 1-on-1 players.. a game I hate to watch. You missed one of the most entertaining, surprising NBA Finals I have seen in 20 years of following the league. The Detroit Pistons play the kind of basketball that NBA-hating curmudgeons have been wishing would make a comeback. It's pretty funny. Team basketball made a comeback, but you folks were too busy grousing to notice. As for the Dream Team, I was hoping they'd win the gold as a thumb in the eye to all of the sports talk radio callers and other fans who have been rooting on their failure. The players who went, when so many skipped out, deserved better support.

posted by rcade at 10:36 PM on August 27, 2004

It's pretty funny. Team basketball made a comeback, but you folks were too busy grousing to notice. No, I think we've just been put off by season after season of fundamentally poor NBA basketball. I don't watch the same bad sitcom for three seasons hoping at some point it might get funny. I took my admittedly shallow and half-hearted love of basketball to where it belongs -- high school sports. It makes it much more of a team sport when four-fifths of the squad generally sucks (and sometimes all five fifths) and they have to really try to work together to succeed, or even just compete. Finding a coach who instills the basics and gets the best out of a bad group is much more enjoyable to me. Give me two chest passes and a boxout over some whiny punk's dunk any day.

posted by wfrazerjr at 11:25 PM on August 27, 2004

You didn't have to watch season after season of the NBA just to see those Finals. I'm a half-hearted fan, too, but I haven't closed my mind to the possibility that the game can still be good, as many people here seem to have done. To me, it's like grousing that all new music sucks and isn't as good as it was back in the day, when giants like Hall and Oates and the J. Geils Band ruled the airwaves. You can't let Bill Cosby disease turn you crotchety. Everything new is not by definition bad.

posted by rcade at 08:16 AM on August 28, 2004

I was hoping they'd win the gold as a thumb in the eye to all of the sports talk radio callers and other fans who have been rooting on their failure. The players who went, when so many skipped out, deserved better support. Between that and the Bill Cosby crack, you said everything I wanted to say way better. Thanks.

posted by yerfatma at 09:17 AM on August 28, 2004

So, rcade, you're telling me you just stumbled onto the NBA Finals out of sheer luck? Wow, what a terrific stroke of luck. Me, I stopped tuning in when you could watch five consecutive minutes without either side making a jumper of more than 10 feet. As for the game still being good, it's good exactly where I'm watching it -- at the lower levels, where it's still a team sport. I haven't given up hope that the NBA game might still be watchable at some point. I'm just not going to sit around and watch it be terrible while I'm waiting. And no, not everything new is bad. But the vast majority of it sucks, just the same way it did in the 80s. In the days of Larry, Magic and Charles, I liked the NBA. Now, it bites. Conversely, Hall and Oates were the shizznitz in the 80s. Now, not so much. It's all about separating the wheat from the chaff, and if you can tell me that when your grandkids ask you, you'll wax poetic about the last 10 years of NBA play, I don't think we have much left to discuss.

posted by wfrazerjr at 10:19 AM on August 28, 2004

Truly, Charles Barkley was poetry in motion.

posted by yerfatma at 04:27 PM on August 28, 2004

I gave game 1 of the NBA Finals a chance because I figured it was the last time we'd see Shaq and Kobe on the same team. Detroit made it clear, from very early on, that this wasn't going to be the Lakers rout that the media was predicting. The Pistons, for all of the predictions of dull, defensive-minded ball, were extremely fun to watch and they were completely reveling in the moment -- especially when it got back to their house. I don't think I've enjoyed a series more since the old Bird-Magic clashes in the '80s.

posted by rcade at 03:20 PM on August 29, 2004

I'd like someone to identify a winning NBA team that you would characterize as "every man for himself"? Maybe I end up watching too much basketball at all levels -- high school, Top 25 college, 250 RPI, Division III -- to buy into the notion that any of them has any right to act superior on the subject of team play or effort. Preps are great, but "Hoosiers" is a movie and WFJ shold consider himself lucky if he is actually seeing what he's reporting to us. Team play within your local varsity is just as vulnerable to typical group dynamics as it is on the teams on TNT. Whether it's Des Moines to Detroit, it won't take long to find ballhogging, non-rebounding guys who won't defend their own shadow at the high school level. And while there are special coaches who can cut through that crap to deliver the "chest pass" cliche we yearn for, most are totally ineffectual, more captive to type of players a coach is fortunate to get. (At this whitebread h.s. I went to, the coach went for a while with talented and skilled Wally Cleaver types who counted the minutes for the games to end, so they could head to the nearest kegger and get blown. And the teams sucked. Then, he got two classes of the same Wally Cleaver types who happened to have less interest in chasing tail and getting drunk, and they won a lot of games and were fun to watch. Those guys graduated, the program went back to sucking and the coach got fired.) In this respect, you'll find the wheat in the NBA coaching corps more likely than in high school. Look at Jerry Sloan, Stan Van Gundy, Rick Carlisle, Larry Brown, Hubie Brown. And those are just the coaches who occasionally deal with talent deficits, let alone the coaches who deal with real ego issues like the Shaq/Kobe crap that Phil Jackson had to deal with.

posted by jackhererra at 08:32 AM on August 31, 2004

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