Olympics Day 16 - Basketball

Colangelo says 2012 Olympic squad “fair comparison” with Dream Team

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The 2012 United States Olympic team will land in London the overwhelming favorites for the gold medal.

But they will not just be battling Spain — the best team in their way and a legitimate threat — they will be battling history. 2012 will be the 20th anniversary of the original Dream Team — Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Patrick Ewing, Charles Barkley and more on a team that strolled to the gold medal and changed the trajectory of international basketball.

USA Basketball president Jerry Colangelo thinks the 2012 will be favorably compared to the Dream Team. He spoke with Chris Tomason of Fox Sports Florida.

“I think it will be a fair comparison with the Dream Team,” the USA Basketball chairman said in a phone interview Thursday with FOX Sports Florida about what can be expected from his team in London two decades after the Dream Team took gold in Barcelona in 1992. “Look at the progress our players have made since (winning Olympic gold in) 2008. We have some of the greatest players of all time.

“You’re hearing Kobe (Bryant) right up there with the greatest of all time. Dwayne Wade and LeBron (James) are right up there. You’ve got to add up the names, and you look at the young guys like (Kevin) Durant as an example and (Derrick) Rose as an example. There’s so many. There’s only been one Dream Team, and that’s the way I think it should be. But there’s no question our team will be much stronger than we had in 2008. They’re more mature, more experienced and we’ve got more talent.”

Team USA is going to have to be chosen without a training camp — rosters have to be submitted by June 20, while the NBA finals may not end until June 26 (they could end earlier, but not enough for a camp). We’ve talked before about some of the tough decisions in store for Coach K and his Team USA staff. In late January USA Basketball will release a list of 18-20 finalists for the team. In June, the 12-player roster plus up to six alternates will be submitted as the Olympics roster.

Team USA will open training camp in Las Vegas July 5. The Olympics begin three weeks later.

Jarrius Robertson hits layup at Celebrity Game, hangs with Draymond Green (VIDEO)

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It’s likely you’ve seen Jarrius “J.J” Robertson before. The 14-year-old came into public view as a New Orleans Saints superfan that deals with a liver disease called biliary atresia. Robertson has shown up at NBA All-Star Weekend this year, and he’s been a big hit.

On Friday, J.J. showed up and played a spot in the 2017 NBA Celebrity Game. He even dropped a layup during gameplay.

Via Twitter:

But he’s not just been around the court. Robertson has been just about everywhere thus far, hanging out with NBA athletes, meeting Charles Barkley, and telling Russell Westbrook that the Oklahoma City Thunder need more shooters.

J.J. even hung with Draymond Green courtside, where the Golden State Warriors forward tried to trade his watch for J.J.’s chain.

Should have made the trade dude! But I’m glad he’s got run of the place.

Glenn Robinson III does his best to salvage Dunk Contest, gets victory in process

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NEW ORLEANS — This year’s NBA All-Star Dunk Contest was doomed to disappoint, it was never going to match last year’s epic battle. It started in a hole.

It never climbed out. Don’t take my word for it, check out what JaVale McGee thought.

Saturday was an underwhelming night of dunks punctuated by a couple of moments of brilliance.

The Pacers’ Glenn Robinson III had the most of those moments — which is why he won the event. His strong night started with his first dunk, which may well have been the best of the contest.

The final one from Robinson, the one that sealed the victory, may be the other best dunk of the competition — dunking over Paul George, the Pacers mascot, and a Pacers dancer.

“I originally planned for it just to be PG (Paul George),” Robinson said afterward. “I knew I had to bring out something special. We added the mascot and the cheerleader. I really just wanted to get up high and dunk that thing hard, man. My adrenaline was going. It felt like I was looking at the rim. All I knew was the crowd go crazy. I pointed like this because, man, everybody seemed to sleep on me, didn’t really think I was going to win this thing.”

Event favorite Aaron Gordon, who should have won a year ago, opened the contest with an innovative idea — a drone dunk — but he couldn’t execute it and there were a few attempts before he nailed it.

Gordon didn’t advance out of the first round, and his first dunk summed up the 2017 Dunk Contest — interesting ideas that didn’t quite pan out like planned. (To be fair, Gordon has been battling injuries recently, that may have thrown him off).

If it wasn’t going to be Gordon, a lot of people expected it to be the bouncy Suns forward Derrick Jones Jr. who won, and he reached the Finals in part thanks to this spectacular dunk that woke the Smoothie King Center up.

DeAndre Jordan was okay, but without Chris Paul throwing him lobs it didn’t quite feel the same. Jordan can dunk with such power in game, but we didn’t see that Saturday.

In the end, it was Gordon who was making the plays.

“I’m not really a known dunker,” Robinson said. “I practiced. I prepared. I know I’m a jumper. And like I said, I’m a guy that stays out of the way. But when it’s time to shine, that’s my thing. That’s what I wanted to do. I knew all along I had some things planned, and I just wanted to show the world.”

Glenn Robinson III wins underwhelming dunk contest on over-people, below-rim dunk (video)

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NEW ORLEANS — Glenn Robinson III won the dunk contest with the second-best dunk of the night, going over a few people and under the rim — a narrow path to slamming victory.

It would’ve rated as the event’s best dunk if he were truly under the rim rather than somewhat in front of it. And he did have the best body of work to win the contest.

But the best single dunk was still by runner-up Derrick Jones Jr., who went between the legs on a pass off the side of the backboard.

NBA stars shoot threes to raise $500,000 for Sager Strong Foundation in touching moment

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NEW ORLEANS — The spirit of Craig Sager is strong during All-Star weekend in The Big Easy and he’s going to get a spot in the Hall of Fame, deservedly so.

After Eric Gordon won the Three-Point Contest, he and the other finalists Kyrie Irving and Kemba Walker stayed on the court to shoot threes to raise money for the Sager Strong Foundation — they would shoot threes for a minute and for each make the foundation would get $10,000. Then they brought out help — Reggie Miller, James Harden, DeMar DeRozan, DJ Khaled, and others to knock down shots. That raised $130,000.

Stephen Curry tried to push that to $500,000, but it was Sager’s son that actually did it (with an assist from Shaquille O’Neal).

It was a touching moment for a great cause.