"You Gotta Be Kidding!"
by Mickey Charles, CEO Sports Network
Hatboro, PA (Sports Network) - Check it out...8/8/08 and it spells Beijing.
The Summer Olympics. The world stage for the ostensible best athletes in the
world. A venue with more problems than a hive of bees that just realized the
honey supply is gone. No flags from Tibet, many representative dignitaries
boycotting. Floods. Construction running late. An airport that will
resemble Disney or Universal on a day when either security has been heightened
to code red or they have dispensed with it entirely and the summer crowds have
NBC is probably sending as many personnel as will be competing. The coverage,
from opening to closing ceremonies, will eclipse anything that has gone before
it. A digital camera concession is probably a better idea than flags, shirts,
pins, food concessions, programs or black market tickets (they shoot people in
China for dong that, right?).
Michael Phelps will be the centerpiece of activity and highlight films. Can
Phelps actually do it, can he break the most prized record in swimming: Mark
Spitz's seven gold medals in the 1972 Olympics? Back then, at age twenty-two,
Spitz made history by winning seven gold medals and breaking another seven
world records. He won the one-hundred meter butterfly, the two-hundred meter
butterfly, the one-hundred meter free-style, the two-hundred free-style, the
four-hundred meter free-style, the eight-hundred meter free-style, and the
four-hundred meter medley relay.
Michael Phelps will lead the US Swim Team heading into Beijing.
Phelps might lose a race or two if another country enters a swordfish, marlin,
bluefin tuna, dolphin or shark.
But, that aside, my focus will be on the basketball team. This is the sport
that we originated, the one that we did not borrow from another country,
converting it to our own use. Hey, we own it and that means (participants
from other countries now making millions at our shores aside) we are not
supposed to lose. We wrote the book, edited it, published and sold it. This
is our game, from three-on-three in the schoolyards that dot our inner city
and suburban landscapes to the colleges and NBA where talents are honed and
perfected. We are bigger, stronger, faster, more united, focused, steadfast,
determined, full of pride of country and on a mission. So it says here.
From the Managing Director of the team (whatever that title means besides
having deep pockets) Jerry Colangelo, to Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski from Duke
University, Assistant Coaches Jim Boeheim of Syracuse University, Mike
D'Antoni of the New York Knicks and Nate McMillan of the Portland Trail
Blazers we have put together a brain trust with a directive to bring home the
gold. Easier said than done, unless all take it more seriously than a trip as
There's enough talent on this star-studded aggregation to rip through the rest
of the entries like Grant taking Richmond but there's also a notable absence
of beef. Maybe we don't need a somewhat aging Shaquille O'Neal or Tim Duncan.
Maybe. That means going for the cheetahs in the league... Carmelo Anthony,
Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Tayshaun Prince, Jason Kidd, Dwight Howard (our
"beef"), Carlos Boozer and Chris Bosh. It means Dwyane Wade and Deron
Williams to orchestrate the offense when Kidd takes a breather, or sizing down
to Chris Paul at 6' to spare any of them when they need a respite or the game
is out of reach...for the U.S. And, there is always sharp-shooter Michael
Expect Team USA to be a quicker team, led by Lebron James.
The U.S. won the Gold Medal in 2000, beating France by 10 points, 85-75 after
edging Lithuania in the semifinals, 85-83 You have to be kidding with that
one. I can put a team from Harlem or the Sonny Hill League in Philadelphia on
the court and beat Lithuania. The red, white and blue then won the Bronze
Medal in 2004, beating Lithuania again, 104-96. Be still my beating heart!!!
They did, however, lose to Argentina (the Gold Medal winner) in the
The vastly over-rated Larry Brown, then with the Detroit Pistons, was at the
helm of that debacle.
This is our game, our peach basket, the sport that a Canadian, Dr. James A.
Naismith, invented. A physical education instructor who was, by the way, also
responsible for introducing the helmet in football. Oh yes, name the game
that inspired basketball and you will wow your trivia buddies. This one is
good for as many beers as you can handle (see below). It is our game because
he, Dr. Naismith, was teaching in Massachusetts at the time. Whew! We are
not supposed to lose this one, not ever, and I do not care how many NBA stars
are playing for other countries nor am I concerned with some of the ridiculous
Olympic rules or referees with myopic vision and a not-always-subtle bias
against the U.S.
It is not our game to win; it is ours to lose at this stage. If "Coach K" and
his minions cannot figure that out long enough to stop taking photos, trading
pins and signing autographs, then they should not come home. This is not "do
the best you can." This is, like Phelps, Olympics war, hand-to-hand combat,
take no prisoners mentality, self-esteem and bringing the Stars 'n Stripes to
the podium to collect the gold.
Any shot of our losing? You gotta be kidding!!
TRIVIA ANSWER: "Duck on a Rock"