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You can begrudge them their money…

July 3, 2008

(image: The Last Word)

But you can’t say anything about their patriotism.

Yes, I know, that might be a little exaggerated, but say what you will about NBA players — and professional athletes in general — but they’re doing exactly what we’ve set them up to do. We’ve glorified their existence to no end, we’ve snatched up any and all of their memorabilia, we’ve even watched them in the tabloids. But now we’re sending them overseas to represent us. To represent everything that America stands for. And this round of Olympic Games is the perfect stage.

We’re coming off stunning defeats in both the 2004 Summer Games and the FIBA World Championships. The world believes that they have caught up to us in the sport that we invented (yeah, he was Canadian, but he invented it in Springfield, Mass.) and have dominated since. They have the chance to come together as a team instead of simply a group of individual stars. And they can show the world how basketball was meant to be played.

I was inspired by tonight’s installment of “Road to Redemption,” a series about Team USA’s preparations for Beijing, and I’ve gotta tell you…there’s a great vibe going around that team. They seem to really have bought into Coach K‘s philosophy. They even listened to wounded American soldiers (from Iraq) speak about “selfless service.” And there were tears coming to their eyes.

So here’s to you Team USA. Bring it home for us this year. We’re behind you.

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