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Monday, August 30, 2010

Hey Mate - Check...

With the tip of the hat to ESPN's (Insider) Chris Sheridan for his story with a similar train of thought, here's the underlying news of the first three-days of the FIBA World Championship 2010:

1. Rock-hard slippery new basketballs...not a pre-bounced, broken-in ball in sight:  -> (Check)
2. FIBA decals newly applied to floor to make them resemble the ice rink at Vancouver 2010: -> (Check)
3. Officiating crews who have never worked together and don't speak the same languages: -> (Check)
4. TV announcers explaining "the USA doesn't value the Worlds as they do the Olympics: -> (Check)
5. First time US media attendees comparing European fans to those at Cameron Indoor: -> (Check)
6. Some veteran media type, stating "the rest of the world has caught-up to USA: -> (Check)  -- That statement made despite fact: USA lost to USSR in '72 (unfair); USA lost to Brazil in Pan Am Games @Indianapolis in '87; USA lost many a time with top collegians in likes of World University Games -- 4 of last five WUGs since 2001; Never mind senior team struggles in 2002 Worlds @ Indy and Bronze medals in Athens ('04) and Saitama, Japan ('06).
   At least one American media type moronically will declare: "We should send the college kids."
7. TV announcers reacting to US problems defending opponents' pick n' roll as though it is first time the USA's NBA players have ever seen the play ... (I seem to remember that Stockton and Malone ran it pretty well vs NBA defenses for a while). -> (Check)
8. Wacky schedules where teams play 5 games in six days, then have a 3-day break before next round.
(If USA ends up #1 in their group, they are off Sept. 3-4-5th). -> (Check)
9. Trying to find the USA games on TV and shuttling between the likes of: ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN Classic, NBA TV and ESPN3 online. -> (Check)
10. And, my favorite:  The unfounded and inaccurate rumors that some teams/players in the tournament are tested for drugs insinuating that others are not.

ISTANBUL -- Basketball's governing body says more than 100 random drug tests will be conducted at the world championship, its largest program ever.
Patrick Baumann, FIBA's secretary general, says 48 players, two from each team, have been tested and there will be at least 60 tests more during the tournament through Sept. 12.
Baumann says he hopes this can "banish the myth that some teams are not tested," adding that "everybody is treated exactly the same and there are no exceptions."
FIBA has been conducting random drug tests since 1990.
*Baumann also says Monday that FIBA hopes to increase the world championship from 24 to 32 teams, and the Olympics from 12 to 16.
I can assure you - and I've seen it with my own eyes - that the NBA players on the USA team and other teams have been tested (at random) at every tournament that I attended, starting with the '92 Olympics in Barcelona. In '96, right in Atlanta, players missed the gold medal celebration because they were escorted away from our locker to the anti-doping areas.  In 2000, our players were often tested 4 or more players at a time in Australia - before, during and after the Gold Medal. In 2004, it took Dwyane Wade a whole other game -- which was a barn-burner and decisive medal round deciding game between Serbia vs China -- to take his test, if you know what I mean.  
The insinuation that the USA or NBA players were treated differently always made me laugh at the un-informed media who put forth the rumors - usually media that were NOT in attendance at the tournament.

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