Team USA Basketball

Olympic Basketball Is Un-Olympic, and the Dream Team's Not to Blame

GLASGOW, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 08: Ross Morrison lights the Olympic Cauldron at the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay Special City Celebration, presented by Coca-Cola at George Square on June 8, 2012 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Martin Grimes/Getty Images)
Martin Grimes/Getty Images
Kyle ScottContributor IIIJune 9, 2012

In a regular-length season, I get about eight months of uninterrupted basketball. By the end of June, I'm ready to move on. And every four years, the Olympics is a nice gap-filler until football starts.

During the Olympics, I get to watch sports I rarely see and athletes I've never heard of do things that are record-breaking and mind-boggling. It's great for a few weeks every four years, but no way would I watch Usain Bolt or Michael Phelps for eight months straight or follow beach volleyball teams over a 17 week season like I do with football.

Like the rest of the U.S., I only watch Olympic sports during the Olympics.

The rest of the year it's the Big Three (which doesn't include hockey or soccer) with a few events mixed in like the Belmont Stakes or a Manny Pacquiao fight. So when a sport like basketball is played during the Olympics, I fail to see the point.

In the U.S., we see basketball played at the highest level on a regular basis. And in the playoffs, the intensity and concentration of talent increases. Right now we are witnessing some of the most entertaining basketball of the year in the NBA. There is no way that Croatia. vs. Angola can match this. Olympic basketball is a step down in terms of quality of play and intensity.

Olympic basketball is not basketball played at the highest level, nor is it intriguing to see just one team with the greatest athletes. 

It's true the rest of the world is closing the gap with U.S.A basketball, but it's not because of their athleticism or talent. When I watch the Olympics, I want to see people break records and go faster and higher than anyone else. I don't tune in to see fundamentally-sound bounce passes and disciplined zone defense.

As an American, I am spoiled when it comes to basketball.

When I go to other countries for the Olympics, the U.S. basketball players are definitely the biggest draw. LeBron and Kobe are two of the biggest sports stars on the planet. Fans from China, England, Ethiopia and everywhere else are clamoring for a glimpse of them. 

But that's not what the Olympics is about.

It's about human achievement, not star power. Olympic basketball is antithetical to the Olympic spirit.

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