Christ the Redeemer looked over his city of Rio de Janeiro as the 2016 Olympic Games came to a close. As the basketball Gods watched as Team USA took the last medal in Brazil. Bringing the American’s total of gold to 46.
It was another great games in South America. From Gladitorial legends breaking, record consecutive golds in their fields (or pools), like Usain Bolt and Michael Phelps. To new icons setting their name and legacy in stone and gold like gymnast great Simone Biles.
As a matter of fact women ran the world in this Olympia. And the womens national basketball team set the tone for the U.S. as they blew out Spain 101-72 to take gold for the sixth consecutive time since their home turn in the 1996 Atlanta games. Before that it was all just merely netball. Now nothing but net, Team USA whitewashed all their games like thir home uniforms. 65, 40, 26, 30, 43, 46, 19 and 29 in the medal game (that was in the gym bag before the sweats even came off) was the point differential margins as WNBA legends and Olympic greats like Sue Bird, Tamika Catchings and Diana Taurasi netted their third gold. Setting the podium for the likes of Brittney Griner, Maya Moore, Tina Charles, Sylvia Fowles and Breanna Stewart (matter of fact the whole roll call roster) to show the men they’re the real Dream Team.
Even more dominant than Simone, Usain or Mike in Olympic history, Angel McCoughtry is right when we wake up tomorrow these women better be on a damn Wheaties box.
After the U.S. beat the Silver Medal winning Spanish women and then the Spanish men took Bronce (Bronze) after a hero, power punch play by arguably the best international player of all-time (certainly the most underrated), Pau Gasol (holding up his injured, absent brother Marc’s jersey in beautiful, tribute celebration), it was down to the U.S. and Serbia for the last event of Rio’s games.
And they didn’t disappoint. Despite critics almost calling ‘Redeem’ on this twenty, sixteen team minus the King and the Chef. Sure the men didn’t win as handsomely as the women, but the rest of the world is just getting that much better. No matter the nationality…or gender, good basketball is good basketball. But the men still dominated and saved their best for last like Canadian Rick Fox’s first wife’s biggest hit. Serbia kept it close in the first quarter in what looked set to be a thriller…or even an upset as they lead. But then the second and the half that followed played out like the video game trend leads both U.S. squads have ran away with in these games over their still competitive opposition as it goes down to the pine of whose bench is fresher.
New Golden State Warrior Kevin Durant lead his band of brothers past Serbia with an incredible 2nd quarter of breakway rim rockers and NBA three’s as pure as bottled water as the Durantula bottle necked the opposition. With arms everywhere. On the floor, holding the flag, looking for gold in California and even touching on his past. Even Oklahoma City Thunder fans couldn’t deny it. You just had to love it. Many different U.S. players have lead the way for their country. From all-time Olympic contest and points leader and defacto veteran one Carmelo Anthony, to the all dunking, blocking and rebounding but no free throwing, centre of attention, DeAndre Jordan, who both wanted a medal round their neck just as much as a ring on their finger. But on this last night in Rio it was Kevin who held down a nation of millions down. He was the gasoline to this fire squad. And to think Jerry Colangelo broke his medal stand. His 30 points were the difference maker that lead the U.S. to a 30 point, 96-66 rout of the Serbs.
Which in the end made for 53 consecutive wins in international competition and 23 Olympic as Coach K hands his clean record in the games to Pop.
In his last Carnival the Duke coach even finally cracked a smile. Who knows he may have even broke out his best Manilow on the Copacobana for one last party on the beach.
As the sun goes down on Rio for the U.S. it’s nothing but Gold.
Next stop, Japan.
Here’s to Tokyo 2020.
Lance Stephenson Makin’ ‘Em Dance In China
Remade in China.
From playing with LeBron and the Lakers last season. To getting an early start in the Far East for this one. Getting in opponents faces like he used to do when he went up against the King. Blow in his face all you want…but its just hot air.
Lance Stephenson is back baby!
Like you’ve never seen him before. Running his town in China for the Liaoning Flying Leopards.
To quote Charlie Murphy talking about Prince in an infamous Hollywood stories episode of Dave’s ‘Chappelle Show’, “this cat can (still) ball man”!
To those who think a couple of strings have popped off Stephenson’s guitar then just watch him play and strum along. Lance is still makin’ ’em dance with the NBA’s most famous celebration…except the league just lost it and one of their premier performers and fondly favourite, cult celebrities in the amazing association of epic entertainment.
Turns out the Lakers should have held on to their veteran big name meme team a little longer. Although they did re-up with pure point Rondo running the show and the centre who should start in JaVale McGee. But in not keeping one of their biggest bench presence spark plugs of camaraderie and chemistry since the days of Rony Turiaf or even Mad Dog, Mark Madsen, this is almost as heart-breaking as losing all the kids in the Hollywood divorce for Anthony Davis. But we love reunions almost as much as we love redemption in this league and with BIG3 MVP Joe Johnson inking a deal with Detroit that is going to see the Motor City Pistons assembly line cut former Laker Michael Beasley. We may just see this fellow wild card, big contributing star head back to the Chinese league he finished out the season with like he hasn’t just flown home already. We know one Leopard who would welcome him with back open paws and any other player with a name beyond a meme, not caring if he never changes his spots.
Just when you thought Ice Cube’s inspired BIG3 was the only prescribed route for former NBA players to EA get back in the game like museum exits via the gift shop then check out this exhibit. You only have to check a FIBA feed and see how France French kissed the United States out said tournament a year before the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in Japan to see that this game is truly global. It’s far more than just the United States. It’s the whole wide, watching and welcoming world. And one of the biggest hubs like everything in this world from business, to commerce and innovation is in China. Now that’s some development even the G-League can’t give you old man.
Coney Island’s own legend Stephon Marbury became an icon here, remaining after he retired…and this guy was a superstar under the Times Square, World’s Most Famous Arena lights of being a New York Knick in the Madison Square Garden of hallowed hoops Eden.
Are you listening Carmelo?
You too Dwight…give it a couple of months.
With 35 and 10, double decadence in the playoffs, Lance just put an end to San Miguel like last orders at the bar and now next rounds on him as he mime guitars until the fat lady falsettos in her stilettos to everyone raising a glass in toast.
The all dunking and big shot scoring player looks like he’s stepped into a rejuvenation machine…until you see just how much he afforded with his spare chance minutes last year on the biggest stage in Hollywood. He looks like he’s having a Swayze. And Chinese Basketball in turn the time of its life.
All Stephenson needed was another chance. And boy is he taking it right now. At this point Lance will be back in the league before you can say “it’s opening night at the STAPLES Center.” But at this point would he even want back, causing big trouble in a not so little China?
(As a matter of fact after press Lance Stephenson lead his Leopards over Seoul to win both the Terrific 12 and the tournament MVP…like Jay what more can we say?)
España FIBA Campeon Del Mundo
When Spain won the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa almost a decade ago this writer was in London seeing a friend from Seoul, South Korea. From Oxford Circus to the fountain tops of Piccadilly Circus there looked like a million Spanish people lining the streets that all lived here in the Big Smoke (F### Brexit! Multicultural is beautiful). And despite the honking horns and raised glasses it was the most peaceful, beautiful sports celebration I have ever seen. No hostility, just community. A Spanish man fell to his knees in front of me like he’d just scored and grabbed my hand with both of his in prayer. The most beautiful Spanish woman I’ve ever seen in her nations strip and scarf walked past me whilst trailing her fingertips across my arm and asked me flirtatiously whilst giggling, “who won the World Cup!”
Just an old memory to reminisce as we begin.
No Muleta could ever stop this raging red Spanish bull.
Ever since way before Kobe and Pau went from teammates to rivals every Summer, Spain have been one of the biggest nations in Basketball and certainly the most complete team. And now even without the older Spanish G.O.A.T. Gasol watching at home in his uniform and with Team USA given freedom by the bronze placed France, Spain proved once again that they aren’t only the most consistent and best team in Europe…but the greatest in the whole wide world.
Right now and forever more on the way to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
This FIBA tournament has been something else in its self. And if this writer wasn’t about to start his own road to Japan he would have been able to enjoy it even more. But shout out to editor Edilson Silva’s wrists for keeping us in touch with the tournament on Twitter.
Even without the power of Pau, or many big names in the legendary legacy of the last decade of the Spanish side (no Sergio Rodríguez, Juan Carlos Navarro, Nikola Mirotic, or Serge Ibaka), the Spanish team still ruled like soccer or their basketball brother team Barcelona. As legends like Rudy Fernandez, Ricky Rubio and of course Marc Gasol cut South America’s Argentina down to 20 point blowout, 95-75 size like Luis Scola’s trademark hair (but what a run of play for a member of the team of the tournament).
Marc made his mark as the second player in history to be an NBA Champion and a FIBA World Cup one in the same year, although unfortunately fellow Toronto Raptor Ibaka couldn’t join him. But what a Summer for the first player to do this since the Lakers Lamar Odom almost a decade back in 2010. Only a year after Marc Gasol’s draft rights were traded by the purple and gold for brother Pau.
“The rest of the world have been caught up for quite some time”, like Kobe Bryant said. “The days of the ’92 Barcelona Dream Team are gone”.
Now that’s as true as the U.S. coming in fourth place like half the States had a dance recital.
Congratulations to the real Dream Team…yeah I said it.
Ricky Rubio had 20 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists and no one deserves it more.
Marc Gasol had 14 and 7 in both rebounds and assists.
Sergio Llull had 15.
Rudy Fernandez 11, 10 and 3.
And both Juancho and Willy Hernangomez both had 11 too.
Now what more can you possibly say like reacting to that practice pregame half court heave underarm…from behind the back like a Globetrotter?
Gabriel Deck led the way for Argentina with 24 whilst the likes of old rivals and friends Kobe Bryant and Tony Parker watched from courtside in a sold out arena in Beijing. Whilst Scola scored 8. Argentina were valiant in the final like they were the whole terrific tourney until they were slain by Spain.
Now expect Spain to control the Japanese Olympics in Tokyo next year like a matador.
France Say Au Revoir To United States In FIBA World Cup
From ‘Dream’ to ‘Redeem’, call it what you will but last night in Dongguan, China was a nightmare for Team USA as the United States were sent packing from the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup.
And it was France who gave Greg Popovich team it’s last kiss last night…and Tony Parker was nowhere in sight, apart from some applause emojis on Twitter in celebration.
A year before the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo and many teams (including the U.S. and Canada baby!) clinching their berths for the Japan games in this tournament, this tourney was more than just a precursor or appetizer for the main event to come in a calendars time. It was a competitive game of brackets for all or nothing in its own right. Not to mention a showcase of just how talented the world’s game is, their teams and the individual talents of players themselves. If you haven’t been tuning in like the media networks with no coverage you’re really missing out and the point like TP9. From Giannis Antetokounmpo showing just how much he gives his body up for club and country. And the Hustle of Memphis Grizzlies Japanese G-League regular Yuta Watanabe showing that when it comes to the Olympics next year it’s not just a Washington Wizards top pick who will be big for Japan. Call him up!
And then of course there’s former Parker backup and Spurs man Patty Mills clicking and lowing the boom with his ruling Aussies as his New Zealand neighbours do the Haka that could even put The Rock’s ‘Hobbs and Shaw’ fast and furious movie Samoan war dance in a hard place. But when it came to Popovich’s countrymen they just couldn’t pop against France as red white and blue beat the stars and stripes 89-79. Ending a 58 non exhibition game winning streak that Dream Teams have kept awake for longer than the wonderful women’s U.S. soccer team.
If you ignorantly thought that Basketball had no borders outside America (and really? It’s 2019! Who does apart from Trump? Besides this is a Canadian site), then you really won’t now. France made a statement and those (Laker fans) who social media say that the Walker, Tatum, Brown and Smart Celtics couldn’t even beat France and Kyle Kuzma wouldn’t let this happen shouldn’t take this away from the nation who beat them, fair and block to dunk square.
And besides young to veteran superstars with exuberance and (Rio 2016) experience like Donovan Mitchell and Harrison Barnes respectively and respectfully couldn’t get it done either.
The U.S. played well and will be back to their best next year (but need to bring more big guns and names to the Olympic Games), but France just played better. Much better. From the stifling Eiffel Tower of Rudy Gobert with 21 points, 16 rebounds and 3 beautiful looking blocks from the view up there. Beautiful but brutal as Mitchell and Kemba Walker in the clutch can attest.
“We came here to win Gold,” Gobert told press postgame for a team who wants to lift more World Cups than their soccer counterpart. Between four point plays from Nicolas Batum and a team leading 22 from Evan Fournier on a 50 percent 4 for 8 from three from way back in Paris, this side didn’t even need Spurs like Parker or Boris Diaw. Especially when they had MVP and Knick, Frank Ntilikina. All that side needed was heart and they had it in abundance as France looked better than those Jumpman Paris St Germain black hoodies with Jordan in the A.
And anyone who wants to make this more about the U.S. needs to listen to Brooklyn Net and three point contest winner from downtown China Joe Harris, “We certainly didn’t deserve to win that game.”
Let that or Au Revoir be the last word.
Subscribe to our Newsletter!
Canadian Basketball Insider Newsletter
WNBA4 weeks ago
Elena Delle Donne With The Most Valuable Face Mask
NBA4 weeks ago
Brooklyn’s Finest First Greyscale NBA Court Is Creative Genius
NBA4 weeks ago
LeBron’s LA Should Be Crenshaw Lakers For Nipsey
FIBA4 weeks ago
Lance Stephenson Makin’ ‘Em Dance In China
U Sports2 weeks ago
Kadre Gray career-high 51 points keep Laurentian Voyageurs unbeaten
NBA3 weeks ago
If You Come At The King You Best Not Miss
NBA2 weeks ago
Just How Big In The NBA Can Japan’s Rui Hachimura Be?
NBA2 weeks ago
The Lakers Big Three-Headed Blocking Monster