Tag: 1972 Olympics

1972 Olympics

Thursday And-1 links: Remembering the 1972 Gold Medal game


Here is our regular look around the NBA — links to stories worth reading and notes to check out (stuff that did not get its own post here at PBT) — done in bullet point form. Because bloggers love bullet points like US Women’s soccer players love gold medals.

• If it does end up being a USA vs. Russia Gold Medal game Sunday you are going to hear a lot about this — the controversial ending of the 1972 Gold Medal game won by Russia. Marc Stein of ESPN does a great job in that piece of going back through the history of that moment, but it is so tied into the emotions of the Cold War at that time. Go read that post.

• Speaking of the Russians, here is a great breakdown by Sebastian Pruiti at Grantland of soon-to-be Timberwolves guard Alexey Shved.

• Jeremy Lin is hosting some youth basketball clinics in China. He’ll be there for a few weeks before returning to Houston to start preparing for the regular season.

• DeMarre Carroll says he is going to be the “energy guy” off the bench for the Jazz next season.

• Tim Hardaway and Dennis Rodman are teaming up to host a basketball camp for adults and a Jewish community center in Miami this weekend. They want to teach “life lessons.” The jokes just write themselves.

• Just because C.J. Miles has signed with Cleveland, don’t think that means Alonzo Gee is going elsewhere. There is still a better than average chance he picks up his $2.7 million qualifying offer.

• Nigerian Chamberlain Oguchi has played well enough in these Olympics to catch the eye of some NBA teams.

• I want to give fair and equal time here: I wasn’t blown away by Lithuania’s Jonas Valanciunas in these Olympics, I thought he looked like a project for Toronto. But some Raptors bloggers who know the game are higher on him.

• Roger Mason says he chose to play in New Orleans this season because he could get minutes and be a veteran leader. I had heard it was to be closer to good gumbo.

A “source” tells Hoopsworld that free agent Gilbert Arenas has lost a lot of weight and is now completely healthy, he’s just looking for a chance. My guess is that source has his agent’s license or is tied to someone who does.

• Former NBA player and coach Jerry Sichting has been hired on to the Washington Wizards’ staff.

• If you’re looking for it, here is the Celtics preseason schedule.

• It’s not pro basketball but I found it interesting: Roy Williams and Rick Barnes were voted as the most overrated coaches in college by their peers (CBSSports did the poll).

Russian coach, Coach K in cute little war of words


Thumbnail image for David_blatt.jpgHey, we’ve got some almost actual intrigue for today’s Russia vs. USA game at the world championships.

Russia’s coach Mike Blatt — a guy born in the United States now living in Israel and coaching the Russians — and Mike Krzyzewski are in a little war of words.

First, Blatt said that the 1972 Olympic gold medal game — a controversial ending where the Russians got three attempts to redo a final play — was indeed “fair.” Coach K responded that of course he said that, he’s Russian.

So today Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo got the response from Blatt.

“I think Mike’s overlooked the fact that I’m every bit as much of an American as him,” Blatt told Yahoo! Sports at his team’s hotel. “In America, we’re taught that freedom of speech and freedom of thought allow us to try and view things objectively, form our own opinions and express them.

“The ability to do that without risking it being called an act of unpatriotism may be lost upon him.”

This is what passes for trash talk between 50+ white guys. This is their dozens.

Well Thursday is the 38th anniversary of that fateful gold medal game and the game at the World Championships between the USA and Russia by players not even born yet when the first game happened will certainly settle everything. Right?

Mike Krzyzewski not buying that '72 USA Olympic loss to Russia was "fair"


Thumbnail image for Krzyzewski.jpgEither Mike Krzyzewski forgot, or he took a little dig at his Russian counterpart. Smart money is on the latter.

Yesterday, Russian coach David Blatt said that the controversial ending of the 1972 Olympics USA v. Russia gold medal game was “fair.” That after Russia — playing the game in then Eastern Bloc Munich — was given three chances at a final play due to referee and clock malfunctions.

Coach K told Chris Sheridan of ESPN:

“He’s a Russian,” Krzyzewski said of Blatt, who actually holds dual American and Israeli citizenship…

“You know, he coaches the Russian team, so he probably has that viewpoint, and his eyes are clearer now because there are no tears in them,” Krzyzewski said.

Blatt was born in the United States, grew up in the Boston area as a Celtics fan, and played at Princeton. He’s American, with American citizenship (as well as Israeli citizenship, and it is that nation he currently calls home). He has coached all over the world, including Russia, but he is an American.

So Coach K took a little dig. Other guys with USA basketball are not as forgiving of those times.

NBA executive Mike Bantom, who played for that U.S. team, says the issue could be debated, but “if you lived it, and you were there, you know that it was wrong.”

And that was diplomatic. Off the record, the guys from that team still are pretty pissed about how that game ended. And their silver medals still sit unclaimed 38 years later as evidence.

The USA plays Russia Thursday at the FIBA World Championships. If you think 1972 is motivation, remember that not one member of Team USA was born when that game was played.

Russian coach says USA not cheated out of gold in 1972 Olympics


David_blatt.jpgIt remains one of the most controversial basketball games ever.

The ending of the 1972 Olympic gold medal game in Munich featured a Russian team getting three chances to inbound the ball late in the game and down one point, and it was on the third they were able to execute a length of the court pass and layup that gave Russia the gold medal (the first time the USA hadn’t won the gold since 1936).

The USA team considered it unfair and never picked up their silver medals, not showing up to the ceremony in protest.

But Russian coach David Blatt — who grew up a Celtics fan in Massachusetts — says it was the right call, as reported at TrueHoop.

“By the way, there’s a wonderful film about that, and I hate to say it as an American, but it looks like the Russians were right,” Blatt said. “The American team was not cheated. Funny things happened, but in reality it was fair. It was fair.”

The USA and Russia will play each other Thursday in the FIBA World Championship quarterfinals, 38 years to the day after that infamous game.

The USA team now is filled with NBA players — young ones primarily this time around, but guys still seasoned by NBA-level play. Back in 1972 we sent our top college kids, that year led by Doug Collins (yes, Sixers coach Doug Collins) and Paul Westphaul (now the Kings coach). The team was coached by the legendary Henry Iba, who demanded a slow-paced offense and a focus on defense. Bill Walton was the notable absence, having been advised by doctors to take the summer off due to knee issues he was already having (although other factors about coaching and his USA experience in 1970 played into his decision).

The Russians had what was essentially a professional team, part of the Russian military technically the team was older and had played 400 games together ad were much older.

The USA had rolled almost untested to the gold medal game, but in the Russians found the most talented foe they had faced. And a team that like the slow pace the Americans were forced to play at by Iba.

Russia controlled this game. The USA was down by five points at halftime and at the start of the fourth quarter were down 10.

The USA’s Kevin Joyce sparked a comeback that had the USA down one with 30 seconds remaining. The Russians tried to protect that lead by running out the clock (there was no three point line at the time so today’s strategy of fouling was far less effective). Then Collins intercepted a Russian cross-court pass and went racing for a breakaway layup only to be fouled in the act of shooting.

Two pressure free throws, and he drained both. The USA was up one with three seconds on the clock.

The Russians inbounded the ball then with one second left the referees stopped the game. They gave in to complaints from the Russian coach that he had called a time out between Collins free throws that was never granted. Three seconds were put back on the clock and after the timeout given late the Russians got another chance.

The Russians inbounded the ball again, didn’t score and the USA players celebrated… until the referees said the Russians got to inbound the ball again. They said the clock had not been reset to three seconds and the play had to be done over. Again.

The third time a Russia’s Alexander Belov caught a length-of-the-court pass and laid in the game winner.

It was a game — played in then Soviet bloc East Germany — that was filled with Cold War implications and politics. Whether what happened or not was fair has divided the international basketball community ever sense. (Even some American writers, such as the Los Angeles Times Randy Harvey, weren’t convinced the USA was cheated.)

Thursday the teams and stakes will be completely different. But the ghost of the 1972 game will be haunting the game in Turkey, a shadow over the latest matchup in this rivalry.