USA Senior Men’s Basketball Team Wins the Gold Medal Despite Ourselves

Olympic torch flaming, we burn so sweet
The thrill of victory, the agony, defeat…

As the USA Senior Men’s Basketball Team receive their gold medals on the stand and catalog the moment, one has to wonder what type of reception they’ll get when they finally get home.

After an eight year drought, the gold is rightfully where it belongs.

I’m not a negative person–I assure you–but it’s hard not to feel a sense America at large (well at least the media) wanted this team to lose. As one of our readers put it in an email, “I’d rather cheer for the underdog than for the Olympic team.”

Wow.

Really? How can that be?

Is that exclusive of Americans?

Blacks get called unpatriotic all the time even though there’s been many injustices done to them under the flag, but there are Whites–and Blacks–who are openly rooting against our sons? What is that? What lies beneath that unfortunate and incredulous sentiment? Those who root against our countrymen, what are they telling their sons? As NYOIl spits in on one of his tracks off his classic CD Hood Treason: “This is the hate that love made.

I write this to document what is to come. That’s our job here. If we write these stories beforehand, we have a chance to change the culture of hate (by giving readers something objective and if you think mainstream journalists aren’t reading this site, you are mistaken). The hate that smacks sheeple in their faces with a brick and is never apologetic–even to their sons.

I understand how the media makes money.

No news is bad news. Bad news is good news. Black news is great news.

When are people going to see what really goes on and speak out? Why does it always have to be us and Sports On My Mind? If there is someone out there that I’m missing, please shoot me an email. Why are cats toeing the line as if they really are getting a couple of pennies flicked in their eyes?

Yes, I’m proud that we won. Yes I’m proud for the team–especially those who lost in 2004 and 2006. But I would be remiss not to call out what I know is coming. What is coming is commentary about how close this game was. It was a gold medal game! What is coming is that people will want amateurs back on this team. What is coming is the question of why there weren’t any White players on this team.

What I want you to understand is that brothas on this site and SOMM are in the field, so we see and notice words and attitudes the average fan might not pick up on. The same could be said for any field.

Mike Breen had a chance to cement his voice in history by correctly putting Kobe’s four point play in the annals of legendary announcing sound bites. Instead, he’d rather go with the status quo and sit on his voice box. Put me in that moment and I would have kicked it good and hood like Andres Cantor does it every single time someone scores a goal.

But no, he’d rather echo the sentiment of the mainstream. Sad for you Mike Breen.

What America should understand is that you did nothing more but galvanize the psyche of these ridiculous athletic performers and set them up for what are going to be amazing careers.

Flash showed what everyone forgot this tournament and I expect him to win the NBA MVP award next year. Tim Grover added inches to Wade’s vertical and to witness his strength going to the basket should remind us all that he’s a top flight player in the world.

LeBron did the things we don’t usually see out of him during the NBA season in terms of rebounding, hustling and defense. He really stepped up and did what he had to do. Thanks LeBron.

Chris Bosh was another difference maker. He’s versatile enough to handle the international game with ease and his play in the tournament was very impressive.

Chris Paul and Deron Williams give us a glimpse of what we are going to be privileged to see for many years. The NBA is in good shape with these two running the show. Just think, they may be going at it in the Western Conference Finals for years. They seemed to soak up everything Jason Kidd explained to them. It was refreshing to see them listening intently to Jason’s instructions during timeouts.

What else can you say about Kobe Bean Bryant? Some would say he struggled and couldn’t quite play the FIBA way, but what about this…

I wonder where Kobe’s desire comes from? Do you think some of his fire has something to do with how he’s perceived in the US? Could you imagine being a player in the United States, get booed by your own, and then have to come home to something you know isn’t genuine?

I was a little miffed that NBC producers didn’t document the travels of USA Basketball after their win. It was crazy that moments after their big win, NBC went straight to a little Olympic feature beginning with Michael Phelps.

What does that say?

Does that lock down what I’ve said here to give viewers a reality check because there wasn’t an undying for USA Basketball to win the gold? Why all the talk of them being in and out of events? Why all the talk about them being committed to their country unlike past NBA performers? Why aren’t other athletes spoken about in this regard? Why all the drama about this team? Why were they more heavily scrutinized than anyone in these games?

Knowing some of these players personally, I’m sure they’ll tell you the above sentiment doesn’t stick pubicly, but deep down they have to be conflicted on so many levels but they are proud of themselves because they did it with the world watching, some hating, some loving. Kobe and Wade were relieved as hell to win the gold and it physically showed. The problem is that I saw the persona of Michael Jordan riding through their veins and that my friends is not well and good.

When I spoke to Kareem Abdul Jabbar during the NBA Finals, he told me he was disappointed in the lack of philanthropy and consciousness from our athletes (all not just Black) en masse.

I agree with you Kareem 1000%

I’m getting off base here, but try to deal with the flow. We are in the throes of another Roman Empire in America. People are most likely the nastiest they’ve ever been. We scream and hate those who have sick talent. Folks want to bring them down because of jealousy and envy and also because not everyone is a good guy. The one thing I do as a journalist is to see these athletes as peers. I don’t feel inferior around them and it makes for a better and more comfortable conversation. The athletes appreciate the comfort–and also the honesty. They know they can go to guys like Anthony Gilbert, Chris Broussard, Dave Zirin, David Aldridge, Scoop Jackson and Michael Smith (sorry if I’m forgetting anyone) and be taken care of. Yes, we all can be objective, but you can only relate if you are in the locker room in front of their faces.

These cats are people too. They live, they love, they hurt, they fight, they cry, they smile, they can be mad, but mostly, they want to be happy. Why can’t people understand this? It’s not all about the money. It’s not all about the ladies. It’s not all about the crazy benefits they receive because of their stature, they just want to come home, kick off their shoes and fall asleep to great music, a warm supporting and loving mate with a smile on their face.

These men sacrificed three years away from their families to bring home the gold. Of course they did it for themselves, but they also did it for you. So what they make crazy amounts of money. They took care of business despite everything that was going on around them.

Give them some respect because if the shoe was on the other foot, you’d want it too.

Another disappointment is the absence of Black journalists decrying the mainstream criticism heaped on this team. What are you waiting for ladies and gentleman?

It’s time to put up or shut up!

12 Responses to “USA Senior Men’s Basketball Team Wins the Gold Medal Despite Ourselves”

  1. CEvidence says:

    You know I watch and read some of the stories and comments following the win and here’s some of the statements I’ve found.

    “They were well behaved.”
    “They showed they can play together”
    “We shouldnt celebrate because they are pros playing against amateurs.”
    “They shown that they can hide their arrogance.”

    Now plenty of people had their cheers and congradulations. But still….the hate…flat out hate was down right sickening…just listen to the response…I can’t even get over it.

  2. Mizzo says:

    If there is applause it’s so muted a dog can’t hear it. These moments in time are what shape history.

    Where are the stories?

  3. I really wish that everyone could just appreciate sports, and not get involved about how much someone is making, or who they are dating, etc. The Olympics are the apex of competition and yes, it seemed as if people were watching and waiting for Team USA to fail. Why is that?

    I am so proud of them, and I appreciate you taking the time to write this story, because outside of the one that I read by Jemele Hill, and this one, it seems as if no one wants to discuss it. Its almost like it didn’t happen. Team USA won the gold and went silently into the night.

    Maybe Nike will do an event to celebrate their gold? And it would be great if they had the USA women’s team too. A nice ticker-tape parade down Broadway!

  4. TRC says:

    One of the most interesting storylines is the incredible evolution of LBJ- his sense of history (jumping over a barricade after the final game to hug Doug Collins-all the other players followed) and sense of team-leading the entire team into the post-game press conference. He is truly someone to admire beyond his basketball skills. Not saying the other players do not posess skills and abilities beyond BBall but LBJ seems to be a remarkable man. It was a pleasure and a privilege to watch this team.

    Middle aged white guy.

  5. HarveyDent says:

    Like the article especially the criticism of Breen’s play-by-play calling because he truly could have made an immortal call but let it slide. Imagine if it had been Marv Albert calling the game with Dickie V on color then believe me we’d have a call to rival “Havlicek stole the ball!” Ah well, his loss because when destiny calls you have to be ready to answer because for all the praise Breen lavished on the Spanish team he could have threw some of that love to the US team for handling the Spanish onslaught and playing through a ragged fourth quarter to reach the goal. That four point play will be legendary because that cemented the deal in my opinion.

    I haven’t really paid any attention to the Olympics since ’96 and only then because I lived in ATL at the time but these Games had me truly hooked. I enjoyed Bolt and the Jamaicans, Phelps’ accomplishments, both US b’ball teams, and even the Opening Ceremonies. Just seeing truly the world’s best athletes out there competing not for what benefits would come after the Games but just to prove themselves against the world humbled me. Watching the pride, that word again, all those athletes felt representing their countries while rocking their native garb reminded me again that I need to get some more stamps on my passports and realize that while the world has gotten flat it’s still a big place that can be just as wonderful as it is scary sometimes. That feeling of goodwill I actually felt vicariously through my TV screen is worth more than any snarky comments from people like Costas or Rick Reilly or criticisms of athletic behavior from Jacque Rogge can ever take away.

    Well done, China, well done.

  6. [...] He fired himself and a whole nation up and was hated until his career was winding down. He was slammed in the media with no grease. My Pop used to wake me up after his fights and it had a lot to do with how he was revered in the Black community but hated at large. What a pity. It’s akin to the emptiness echoed after a Mike Breen call. [...]

  7. Nina says:

    I have to say I enjoyed reading this article. I realize that all the other teams competing in the World or Olympic games have one thing to shoot for outside of the Gold, Beat Team USA. What do we have to aspire to? Think about this. In 1992 the Dream Team was assembled and we never looked back as a country in the Men’s Basketball Competition. Team USA was always a guaranteed win and our team played that way. I use to call it the seven game All-Star game. The most recent competitions showed the team was not focusing on the team concept but there to show boat while the other teams got better. There was no sense of pride for what they represented because at the end of the day, Team USA had million dollar lifestyles to go back to and the other teams were not so fortunate. I caught a documentary on NBATV, Road To Redemption. I have to say at that moment, I felt a shift in Team USA and in my sense of pride. What the media does not speak on screams loud in my ears. Team USA was presented with wounded soldiers from Iraq who wanted to go back and fight for our freedom. Despite of the loss of limbs or being legally blind. I watched those men cry for those men and women who risk their lives for a war that is still questionable. That’s where their pride came in. That’s why I watched Team USA play like a team. Why Flash became Flash and LeBron played as the ultimate teammate. In the end, the history they picked up knowing that in 1972 Team USA did not pick up their Silver Medals because of some serious Olympic BS and that win was for them. If the media wants to trip on them, I say….Whatever…. I watched those arrogant boys grow up to become Men. Maybe this will change some of the attitude we have seen in the NBA, maybe not. But for this one moment in time, I was proud of what I witnessed…

  8. Kwaku says:

    The fact is that nobody cares about these guys. Unlike MJ, Bird, Barkley, and company, this crop of 2008 NBA stars just doesn’t consist of many likable or interesting personalities. The popularity of the NBA has also waned, in general.

  9. Mizzo says:

    I beg to differ. The NBA’s world wide popularity is unprecedented.

    It’s all about race and you know it. Ain’t no future in ya frontin’….

  10. Stevo says:

    I’m from the UK, luved reading the article btw agreed wif everything! I took a holiday to the east coast a few weeks ago when the olympics were on and waz horrified at the lack of coverage of these guys! NBA is gettin bigger all over the world especially in the UK where a lot of young kids follow it now! And therefore I waz following the USA in the olympics, caught up in the whole ‘Redeem Team’ hysteria and wanted to c them thrash every opponent! But when I got to the states it waz like no1 even cared It actually made me pretty angry and wondering about the lack of coverage! I think it has got to do with race imo which is so annoying that mainsteam americans still think in this way its abs disgrace theres more white americans who WATCH the nba than black americans due to numbers not percentages, and for the media to ignore this is a major error ! But wot u guys shud do is welcome them bk heroes, buy usa shirts , stand up and say they were the most important usa gold winners, (phelps waz always gonna win) and go out show those racist pricks, that they shud think again and salute the likes of kobe, le bron! Btw im a white brit, and 90% of my mates who r also white luv the nba and feel no racism to anybody, cant believe it is still in america, come on obama!Another reason why basketball will get more coverage when he starts going to games lol though bush went to usavchina game!

  11. new says:

    There was no sense of pride for what they represented because at the end of the day, Team USA had million dollar lifestyles to go back to and the other teams were not so fortunate.

  12. [...] Damn Mike Breen jinxed him talking about and I paraphrase…What a remarkable foul shooting display… [...]

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