(Phoenix’s Mike D’Antoni – a previous generation’s antidote to creeping Ugly Americanism)
Putting aside, if you will, the question of whether or not Team USA running roughshod over the competition at the FIBA Tournament Of The Americas will actually benefit the game’s international development, consider the following swoony observations from the Arizona Republic’s Dan Bickley (link courtesy Jon Solomon)
This group of Olympic hopefuls is determined and passionate, of clear mind and purpose. Once again, the United States is playing – not acting – like it invented the game of basketball.
This is a story about redemption, patriotism and restoring the glory. And in a city known for cashing in chips, the biggest one sits on Team USA’s shoulder.
They are embracing and striving toward Jerry Colangelo’s vision of winning the gold and “changing the perception of America, and particularly, its athletes.”
It just might happen.
After a blowout victory against Uruguay, Mike Krzyzewski came out of the locker room and saw all 12 opposing players lined up outside Team USA’s locker room. Just like 15 years ago, the losers were in complete awe and desperately wanted to meet their conquerors. Team USA obliged, inviting them in and showering them with gifts.
“We gave them everything that wasn’t nailed down,” Mike D’Antoni said. “In about 30 seconds, we undid everything (President) Bush and (Karl) Rove did in the last seven years.”
Naive Noble sentiments, indeed, though it’s interesting to measure Mike D’Antoni’s personal politics against those of former employer Colangelo or those of Krzyzewski. It was just last summer that Coach K was putting his players in military fatigues. And it is unlikely Colangelo would like to take much credit for undoing the work of the man he’s praying for.