The 2004 Olympics in Athens was the last time Team USA did not win gold at the Games. The USA took bronze in the game it invented, and it was that loss that tipped the first domino that led to the Jerry Colangelo/Mike Krzyzewski takeover of USA Basketball — which has put a real program and tradition in place.
What went wrong in 2004? A lot of things. Guys didn’t want to go to Greece because of security concerns (this was the first Olympics after 9/11, and the Greeks were not thought to be on top of terrorism concerns), but the bigger issue was a lot of veteran guys didn’t want to play for Larry Brown, which led to a talented (LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade) but young team not used to playing together, nor were they ready for that stage.
Among the guys who thought Brown was the problem was Stephon Marbury. In a fantastic interview about his NBA career and his second life as a basketball icon in China with Complex magazine, Marbury talks about those 2004 Games.
Marbury says that on the first day of Olympics practice, Brown asked his players—a group that included LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Tim Duncan and Allen Iverson – to state their goals for the tournament.
“By the time he got to me, everything was said that needed to be said,’’ Marbury says. “So I said, ‘Let’s also not forget that we need to have fun.’ And Larry goes, ‘Huh. Listen to this guy, talking about having fun!’’’
Marbury was stung and embarrassed by Brown’s condescension. He calls the Olympic experience, “The worst 38 days of my life.’’
Remember that Marbury was a Knick at the time, and soon enough the Knicks hired Brown as their coach. And the downward spiral continued for Marbury.
Fortunately for American hoop fans, Colangelo and USA Basketball learned the lessons of 2004 (and the World Championships before and after it) and used that to fix what was wrong and return the USA to a position of dominance in the world of basketball. Marbury and the other guys on that 2004 team paid some of the price for that.
A trip to the DMV is never at the top of anyone’s list of ways to spend an afternoon. Still, it’s a necessary evil of adult life.
The DMV is a place for rules, one of the most common ones is that you are not allowed to smile in your picture for your driver’s license. In Cleveland, the DMV there has decided to make a small alteration to their camera setup to ensure that citizens follow this rule.
Specifically, they taped a photo of LeBron James in a Los Angeles Lakers jersey to the camera that takes the driver’s license photos.
At least for this year, putting a photo of LeBron on a camera at the DMV in the Cleveland should keep straight faces on people getting their photo taken. However, seeing as the Cavaliers probably won’t be very good moving forward, it might be just as easy to tape a photo of the team logo up there.
It appears that everyone is upset about Lebron leaving for the LA.
DeMar DeRozan did not want to be traded from the Raptors.
He will eventually warm to San Antonio and the Spurs, but for a franchise that has seen star after star push their way out of town — Chris Bosh, Vince Carter, Damon Stoudamire, and on down the list — DeRozan was the one guy who embraced the city, repped it, and not only said he wanted to stay but did just that. DeRozan was all in on Toronto and loyal, and they shipped him out anyway. It may well have been the right basketball move, but it was cold. And a lot of Raptors fans were not happy about how it went down.
DeRozan, classy as always, thanked the Raptors fans in a heartfelt Instagram post.
Someday they will retire DeRozan’s jersey in Toronto. Deservedly so.
LeBron James has been up front about this before: He wants to play with his son LeBron Jr. for a couple of years in the NBA before retiring. That son, about to enter ninth grade, would graduate in 2022 — the year the NBA is expected to go back to allowing teams to draft players out of high school, and the year LeBron’s Laker contract ends.
(Does LeBron Jr. want this? Of course he’ll say publicly he does, but would you want your dad with you in the locker room and on the road with you when you’re an NBA rookie finally out of the house and able to explore life a little?)
Taking that to the next step, Twitter user @Shady00018 pieced together an NBA 2K mixtape of LeBron playing with his son. LeBron saw it and LOVED it.
We’re a long way from that, but you know LeBron wants it to happen.
Kawhi Leonard is a member of the Toronto Raptors now. There’s no way of getting around it. Even with rumors swirling about whether or not he will be happy in Canada, the truth is that we have already seen some embrace of Leonard in the six.
Likewise, DeMar DeRozan is a member of the San Antonio Spurs whether he likes it or not. Now, each have been seen for the first time in their new jerseys.
The only catch? It’s via a video game.
2K Games decided to tweet out new rendered images of both players in their respective jerseys. To be honest, I don’t think they look all that bad.
It’s going to feel a bit like a real life franchise mode of NBA 2K19 when we see these guys on the court in their new kits next season. But eventually we will get used to it, much in the way we will no doubt get used to LeBron James in a Los Angeles Lakers jersey or Tony Parker in a Charlotte Hornets jersey.
We’re going to have the matchup between the Raptors and the Spurs circled on our calendar next year. That is, if Leonard ends up playing in it. There still might be some doubts in that department.