As this article is being written we are mere hours away from one of the opening highlights of the 2010 South Africa World Cup. England are about to take on the USA in a football…excuse me, a soccer game. The anticipation is at a fever pitch.
Despite the strides that the USA has made in this sport over years England still appear the favorite to win this game. They have the talent, the history and the experience. England should not simply dismiss their opponent however as the US do have more than a decent chance. A couple years back however this would have been a different story. So these days’ clichés may not have completely worn off but there certainly getting old. Americans can play football and Englishman can ball.
Believe it or not but it’s true, neither country may be dominating these respective sports but they are definitely improving fast. The English basketball league is improving by the year and the recent champions the Everton Tigers (Under the same umbrella as the football team Everton) even made it into American basketball magazine ‘SLAM’.
The big focus in the UK however is the national side ‘Team GB’. Especially with the next Olympic Games being held in London in 2012. The team is looking very strong right now with a decent pool of talent. This team has come a long way from the days when their most famous player was John Amaechi, who over recent years has become more infamous for his ‘coming out’ book rather than the talents he had as a player. Thankfully these days the reason British basketball is getting exposure is due to what is happening on court.
The talent is leaving fans drooling at the mouth more than Beethoven (the dog from the movies, not the composer) and Glen Davis combined. The anticipation is so big that the team’s official webpage is named www.gameongb.com. The reason that this anticipation is so high could have something to do with the fact that the team features two prominent NBA stars who have declared that they will play for both club and country, Luol Deng and Ben Gordon.
These are two guys that are not only former teammates and players experienced in winning big games they are also real, developed talent. They are guys that Team GB doesn’t have to wait on; they are already big time contributors. Gone are the days where British fans would hang on to the little British ties stars had like Steve Nash’s family roots or the fact that Ray Allen spent time in Ipswich. British basketball finally has its cover stars.
Luol Deng, born in Wau, Sudan but of British nationality after emigrating to Brixton has been the ‘new’ poster boy of British basketball for some time now. He has climbed up the Chicago Bulls ranks past players who at first where seen as guys who would leave this dynamic forward languishing on the bench. He has spent year after year in the NBA whilst withstanding consuming injury and international duty to craft himself as one of the top tier talents in this league in scoring and all, round play. He even spearheaded last years NBA Europe Live exhibition game featuring his then victorious Chicago Bulls against the Utah Jazz in London. In this game he displayed his talents and leadership for not only his team but his country. He did this in front of his hometown fans from Brixton and other corners of London and the whole world watching on TV.
Ben Gordon, who was Born in Britain and has dual citizenship with the US may no longer be playing alongside Luol in Chicago but the experience he garnered doing this will pay off in dividends for him and his former running mate and more importantly his national side. Ben was a big time player in the Chi. He was and still is quick, clutch and savvy. Alongside Deng Gordon was one of the Bulls premier go to guys leading the stampede. His charges included making dangerously deep shots and forceful aggression at the basket. Even in his rookie year Gordon was so hot that Chicago was almost declaring that there was a new Benny the Bull in town. Ben’s college experience with the University of Connecticut’s NCAA Championship team gave him veteran confidence in his first year. We all remember his teardrop against the Knicks. These days Ben has been given the responsibility as one if the main Pistons motoring forward the new, rebuilt Detroit franchise. The location may have changed but the game hasn’t. Ben Gordon is still one of the freshest, developing talents in the league.
So in this Team GB set Luol will be the ‘franchise’ guy leading the way on the court and in the team’s heart. Ben will be more than ‘the other guy’ or ‘the co-pilot’. He’ll be the big time scorer and more importantly the clutch player, which in international competition against talented teams such as Spain and Argentina could be decisive.
Team GB’s talents don’t just begin and end with Deng and Gordon however. The talent derived from the national basketball organizations of England, Scotland and Wales is full of young, hungry talent. Ballers like Tottenham born; former Toronto Raptors versatile forward Pops Mensah-Bonsu and swingman Andrew Sullivan. Head Coach Chris Finch and his assistants Tony Garbelotto, Tim Lewis and Nick Nurse have there sights set on a new beginning for a team who only ever made the Olympics once in 1948. The interesting thing about this team is that even as the host nation for the 2012 Olympics their place isn’t guaranteed. They have to prove their competitiveness to FIBA, the international basketball federation. From the looks of things this team looks ready to prove themselves.
The Eurobasket 2011 qualifiers this August will prove a big enough stage for this British team to prove if they are worthy enough for the European stage let alone the world, Olympic stage. Lead by two NBA go to guys with renewed focus and motivation behind them this team looks ready to given it everything they have. Which, by the looks of it appears to be a lot more than most people think.
Father Of Dragons. Starbury To Coach In China
Remade in China.
Stephon Marbury was one of the biggest NBA all superstar’s in the early 2000’s. The Coney Island Point Guard product had placement in Fat Joe lyrics and Terror Squad videos. His shirtless, SLAM cover was as ‘Money. Power. Respect’ iconic as Allen Iverson’s ‘Soul On Ice’ best ever classic. And his ‘Showbiz and K.G’ Minnesota Timberwolves one with Kevin Garnett was remade by Kevin Love (K.L.) and Ricky Rubio too (what a dynamic duo both those perfect partnerships could have been more). Then the show-business of Star Marbury had the game of a big, blockbuster trade (before big, blockbuster trades), as the New Jersey Net was switched to the scorching and running Phoenix Suns for some guy named Jason Kidd (and we all know how that turned out). This former Jersey boy came back home as Starbury had the chance to be the king of New York like Carmelo Anthony leading the Knicks from the point. But like rotten Big Apple luck that all mellowed like ‘Melo too and Marbury seemingly made for Manhattan looked to escape from New York like the Statue of Liberty was ‘Cloverfield’ laying in the middle of Fifth Avenue.
It was time the Point God with a New York state of grind switched from the concrete blacktop jungle of New York to a whole new playground. Steph with a shot at redemption took his ball to the Far East. Known for changing the game and breaking down barriers and borders-his discounted sneakers, affordable for all really knew how to kick game with everyone-Starbury’s star turn wasn’t just another NBA flame-out trying to find some burn in another country like still capable stars Steve Francis or Michael Beasley (bring him back Lake Show). He really remade his name there. Possibly having not only a redemptive resurgence, but arguably the better and for sure the more enjoyable part of his career in a closing chapter that saw him soar.
Retiring at 40 in tears and iconic status in China like Chan for all the years he kicked game, Marbury ended his career with 20 points, a step-back dagger three and the win for the Beijing Royal Fighters, otherwise known as the Beijing Fly Dragons that this fighter breathed fire into. As the crowd cheered “Ma Buli MVP,” “Ma Buli, I love you,” and “My Hero,” and even cheerleaders cried as Stephon got his ‘Jerry Maguire’ on telling everyone in attendance that his career in China “completes me.” Getting poetic the biggest Basketball star in China after Yao Ming continued, “At one time I had no place for the blood to go, and you opened up a portal to your hearts for me to flow. You let me live when I was dying; I can’t explain how I feel as I’m crying”.
Beautiful…but you had us at the Tom Cruise sports agent reference.
Now the man who was the same huge part of the best ’96 draft class with the likes of Kobe Bryant, Allen Iverson, Ray Allen, Steve Nash and Samaki Walker people has shown he was in a league of his own as a three time CBA champion and six time All Star. His time further East wasn’t a footnote like his season with the storied, legendary Boston Celtics. For him and the nation, it was everything. And now his next chapter reads from the dry erase of hoops history.
Because now these fighting dragons have named Stephon Marbury their new head coach. Imagine that! This Brooklyn born baller is about to rule the world from the same sidelines he closed out his playing days with his hands together in prayer as every camera taking an immortalized shot of a moment for life bowed before him. Now set to lead the likes of impressive former Laker Thomas Robinson (having his own Hollywood moment over there like Michelle Yeoh), this former Duck is about to be even more mighty.
This crazy, rich culture and a former NBA icon is showing you Basketball is bigger than just one border.
Raptors’ Nick Nurse to coach Canada at 2019 FIBA World Cup
Fresh off leading the Toronto Raptors’ to their first-ever NBA championship – Nick Nurse has been officially named head coach of Canada’s Senior Men’s National (SMNT).
Rocking a fresh suit alongside a red tie and a Canadian pin flag, Nurse expressed gratitude and humbleness “truly honored to be sitting here in this position, I’m really am. Obviously, the last couple of months have been very humbling and really amazing to see the country, the city and everybody get excited about basketball in this country.” opened up Canada’s newest head coach during the press conference.
Nurse’s contract obligations with Team Canada are expected to last through the 2020 summer Olympic games in Tokyo. No salary details were released.
Team Canada is expected to release its full training camp roster before the end of June
“I’m looking forward to working with this talented group of young players, and to seeing what we can do on the competitive global basketball stage. I love the international game. I also see this as a real chance for me to learn from the world’s best, and for us to represent Canada with pride and distinction.”– expressed Nick Nurse.
Canada Basketball has been searching for a replacement since veteran head coach Jay Triano decided to step aside from the job on March 25, 2019 – as he was asked to re-apply for the position by general manager Rowan Barrett.
“Nick fits our Gold Medal Profile as he is a proven leader with extensive experience coaching FIBA, NBA and other professional leagues around the world. His coaching pedigree shows his ability to win at some of the highest levels and he has a tremendous understanding of the FIBA game and our Canadian NBA players. We strongly believe that this unique combination gives our players the best opportunity for success at the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 and the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.” added Rowan Barrett.
After a long a interview process that further extended due to the Toronto Raptors’ winning their first-ever NBA Championship — Peter Yannopoulos and confirmed on by various sources — that Nick Nurse who will be responsible for leading what is expected to be a star-studded Team Canada and the upcoming 2019 FIBA World Cup.
Joining Nurse on the sideline will be Gordie Herbert as an associate head coach. Herbert recently left his Head Coach position with German BBL club Fraport Skyliners Frankfurt. Herbert helped guide Canada to two World Cup qualification wins and is a former Toronto Raptors assistant coach (2008-2009).
Herbert is also expected to take over the coaching duties at the 2021 FIBA AmeriCup Qualifiers formerly known as FIBA Americas Championship. The tournament pits together the top teams from the Western Hemisphere and currently scheduled for November.
The rest of the coaching staff will be announced in the coming days. Canada has loaded exhibition schedule and is expected to face tough opposition in the group of death at the 2019 FIBA World cup in China.