Team USA takes Basketball Gold in a 118 – 107 win over Spain.
I sat and watched the game live in Herat, Afghanistan. I was in the Dining Facility with about 100 other American personnel. There were also 5 to 10 Spaniards in the room with us. I didn’t realize this until Pau Gasol made a play. I and the other Americans screamed “ARRRRRGH!!!” And a few other expletives that I won’t type here. The Spaniards applauded. Every American in the room turned towards the applause with malice in our eyes. lol Being intent on the game, we had not noticed the Spaniards enter the room. After the initial shock, a couple of us laughed and returned our attention to the game.
It’s always a special experience watching momentous games such as this in remote corners of the earth with fellow Americans. Back in the States. Everyone is American. It’s all taken for granted. This victory was made all the more special for me having watched it in Afghanistan. I can’t explain it. I just feel it more.
America reclaims it’s rightful place in Olympic Basketball. International Basketball. It was a game decided in the last minutes. Team USA was never down. But the Spaniards pulled to within 2 with a little less than 3 minutes remaining. Team USA started to act a little frazzled. Anger surfaced. They recovered quickly and retook the lead.
Navarro, the Gasol brothers and Ricky Rubio, the 17 year old future pro, were pulling out all stops. Fernandez seemed unstoppable at times. Dunking on Dwight Howard and showing no signs of quit or surrender. He eventually fouled out defending Kobe Bryant after sizzling Team USA for 22 points. That shot of him dunking on Howard will be shown as an Olympic highlight for the nest 100 years. It was that good.
It was a great game. The Spanish Team acquitted itself nicely. Played hard and played well. They played to win. But fell short. Team USA held on. Took the lead back to Ten and kept it there. Dwayne Wade was the high scoring genius with 27 points. Kobe Bryant and Lebron James were equally stars of the game for the USA. Tayshaun Prince even got some valuable playing time in there over the more heralded Carlos Boozer.
AND IT WAS A GREAT GAME! Well Played and hard fought.
Team USA 2008 will be remembered as the team that brought the Gold back to America. In Basketball, the Gold belongs in America. It’s our game. James Naismith invented it. Our people perfected it. It’s THE American game. More so even than Baseball. Jerry Colangelo deserves a good deal of credit for the redemption of USA Basketball. He was the architect of this Team USA. Coach K and the Boys deserve equal credit. After all, it is a team sport. They earned this Gold Medal over the course of last four years of work. The USA finally played as a team in the Olympics. And it paid off in Olympic GOLD!
Congratulations Team USA. Well played. The Basketball Gold is once more where it belongs. In America.
They lived up to the legacy of these guys.
The First Dream Team.