A year after the U.S. Men’s Basketball Team, composed of collegians, finished with just a bronze medal at the 1988 Olympics, a change was made to allow NBA players to participate. For the 1992 games, the Dream Team was formed, and the greatest collection of basketball talent ever assembled on one team crushed the competition.
Not content just to remind the world that our best could beat anybody and everybody else, we’ve continued to assemble groups of NBA players in an attempt to win gold. Of course, the world has gotten better and now can challenge the best we put out there, as evidenced by the 2004 team finishing third. And even if the team was to win this year’s competition, I think it would be more fun to go back to playing the college kids.
Is there really a need to try and prove we are better in the sport? Is it better to throw together a group of NBA players who may not even wish to be out there but play because of obligation or endorsement opportunities? Why not let kids who will be excited and enthusiastic try and see if they can make history?
The way it is now, anything but a gold is a letdown, and even a gold probably doesn’t satisfy most fans because nobody can dominate like the Dream Team did. But with college stars playing, we could have the best of all worlds, with a chance at victory, as underdogs in a sport we invented. Now that would be worth watching.
THERE IT IS!