After broadcasting 11 FIBA World Championship games and watching another 20, no one is more tired of talking about Team USA than I am. Frankly, I am tired of hearing myself expound on the team.
So this will be the last time I get some things from these games off my chest and, hopefully, put Team USA's bronze-medal performance in Japan in perspective. You won't hear me talk about international hoops until next year's NBA draft:
1. Blaming David Stern
I can't imagine, when Stern came up with the Dream Team idea for the 1992 Olympics, he could have envisioned the growth of basketball so quickly around the globe. Many of the players in this tournament, including Pau Gasol of Spain (and the Memphis Grizzlies), said they drew inspiration as youngsters from the likes of Larry, Magic and Michael. Gasol was 12 when the Dream Team came to Barcelona.
Knowing that global interest in basketball and, in particular, in the NBA would mean increased revenue and popularity for the league, Stern turned out to be Dr. Frankenstein -- because he had created a monster. Since 1992, the talent level internationally has gotten better and better as there likely will be nearly 100 international players in the NBA this season. Commissioner, your plan worked too well!