Atlanta, Georgia. That’s how long Team USA’s women’s basketball team have been the gold standard in the Olympic Games. Since the days Michael Johnson was making gold boot magic on track without having to nod his head. USWNT taking the top of the podium in Sydney, Athens, Beijing, Rio and London ever since then. They took bronze in Barcelona in ’92 after winning in 1984 and’ 88, but they remain the real Dream Team when it comes to international hardwood.
But they may have some redeeming, or at least re-tweaking to do after last night before they make that trip to Tokyo to try and make it seven straight in Japan.
The special 25th anniversary, 2021 WNBA All-star game in Nevada under the hood looked like a tune up for the medal heroes, but Team WNBA had other ideas.
In the Las Vegas home of the Aces they had one in the hole. So much so, Australia’s own Liz Cambage didn’t even have to suit up (at press time it has been announced Liz is withdrawing from the Olympics to take care of her mental health. We wish her well and stand by her). Popping popcorn courtside like a sneaky Russell Westbrook social media viral video. Taking all this new legacy in like King Kong and the Iron Giant at the new ‘Space Jam’ next week. Best believe, if we she did have to suit-up in this close contest she would have ruled with the make-up like the great Tina Thompson.
‘Don’t Let The Lipstick Fool You’ as legend Lisa Leslie’s autobiography once read.
Those two aforementioned Hall of Famers coached the WNBA against the great Dawn Staley’s USA playbook.
A’ja Wilson battling Dearica Hamby at the tip. Chelsea Gray rolling off her LV teammates screens. Breanna Stewart and Jewell Lloyd of Seattle creating a Storm with legend Sue Bird. There were so many court connections in this epic exhibition between true teammates some franchises had to miss out. The Ogwumike sister act injured (make the Nigeria national side a twin ambition FIBA) Los Angeles Sparks (who still have had big years from Erica Wheeler, Brittney Sykes and my new favorite player Amanda Zahui B.) hilarious asking fellow starless Indiana Fever on Twitter if they had any plans tonight (a ‘Stranger Things’ rerun?).
It was Nigerian-American, Dallas star Arike Ogunbowale who really took wing with a game-high 26 and All-star MVP. Leading the WNBA to a 93-85 win over the USA after this game went back and forth like an Aaliyah classic. Actually feeling like a contest and not an exhibition.
Bianka and Capri Bryant watching whilst wearing Kobe and GiGi jerseys with their mother Vanessa Bryant were in for a treat like all hoop heads were. This game highlighting an evening were we also saw the Bucks beat the Suns to tie everything up in the NBA Finals with a beautiful block by Giannis for history and what really is now a series. Even at halftime this show didn’t let up as Sky high Chicago wind maker Allie Quigley quickly three-peated the three-point contest in all its epic entertainment.
Sue Bird admitted there was work to do before heading to the land of the rising sun after the national team dropped this one.
If anything this game just shows how deep the women’s one actually is around the whole world.
USA’s six straight medals doesn’t play to indifference on a global scale. Just their sheer domination of it all in all.
No matter how strong they are though, this could be about to change just like the men knowing they can’t cakewalk this one after having their candles extinguished by a Nigerian team they once blew out in Rio.
Respect them now?
We’re talking about Nigeria.
This global game is more than U.S. Yet the American team is in anything but a state, either side. They’re ready to go. It’s just going to be a bigger uphill climb to the podium.
Team USA’s bid to carry on their 49 game win streak like Kendrick Perkins comments begins on July 27th against…Nigeria.
Does this look familiar?
Time to get ready.