After the game Tuesday came the moment this 2012 Team USA felt like the original Dream Team.
Following the USA’s crushing Tunisia, in the handshake line Tunisian forward Mohamed Hadidane (who scored 11 points in the game) took off his shoe and handed it to Kobe Bryant with a sharpie and asked for his autograph. Right there on the court. Kobe obliged.
My favorite part of that was it was Hadidane’s own shoe, right off his foot. The shoe he had just played in.
We saw this kind of thing all the time with the original Dream Team back in 1992. Back then players on the other teams worshiped these NBA stars.
But that was a very different basketball world. Every team other than Tunisia in the Olympic Tournament has current and former NBA players — guys not just intimidated by the presence of Kobe Bryant (or LeBron James or Kevin Durant or… you get the idea). That rubs off on other players. Even a team like the USA’s Thursday opponent Nigeria, which has just two guys who have seen the NBA hardwood (Ike Diogu and Al-Farouq Aminu), don’t play in awe of the NBA stars anymore. The impact of those two guys permeates the team. And on the elite teams (Spain, Argentina) these are basically NBA squads.
But Hadidane was not going to be denied — he got his fandom geek on and was proud.
Trail Blazers beat Suns by 48, biggest season-opening rout in NBA history
The Nets’ projected record this season came under greater scrutiny when the Celtics traded Brooklyn’s unprotected first-round pick to the Cavaliers in the Kyrie Irving trade. After finishing third-to-last and last the previous two years, were the Nets poised to take a step forward, or would they convey a very high pick to the Cavs?
Jeremy Lin, who missed 46 games last season, getting healthy was a reason for optimism in Brooklyn and pessimism in Cleveland. But it appears the veteran guard could be out a while.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
Brooklyn's Jeremy Lin will undergo evaluation of right knee in New York Thursday, league source tells ESPN. Tremendous concern on injury.
If the injury is as bad as feared, what a bummer for Lin. He came to Brooklyn expecting to play a leading role on a developing team, and he just can’t stay healthy.
The Nets were probably more focused on developing their younger players, but – especially without their own draft picks – there was no harm in shooting for the playoffs. This appears to a blow to that (already unlikely) dream.
It’s a boon to the Cavaliers, though. And whenever something significantly affects LeBron James‘ team, it has ramifications into the entire power dynamic of the Eastern Conference. For an injury to a player on a team most expect to be bad, the medical developments here will be tracked closely around the league.
Aaron Gordon throws himself alley-oop off backboard (video)
The Magic sidetracked him by playing him at small forward most of last season. But back at power forward, Gordon showed how he could push the pace as a four in Orlando’s season-opening win over the Heat.
There’s obviously flair in passing to yourself off the backboard, but it’s a sound way to improve position. Gordon did that to fantastic effect.