U.S.A. Basketball: Can They Bring Home the Gold at the Beijing Olympics ?

S RiethContributor IJuly 29, 2008

The sport that I would most like to have the United States win is basketball.  I was a tremendous fan of the original Dream Teams.

These teams dominated the games with members like Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, and Charles Barkley.  Also, throw in the other members like centers David Robinson and Patrick Ewing, power forward Karl Malone, swing-men Scottie Pippen, Chris Mullin, and Clyde Drexler and point guard John Stockton. 

These were amazing teams to watch.  Players from the other countries could not even touch them.  Heck, the players going against these basketball legends probably wanted to just have pictures taken so they could say I played against the best in the world. 

With the team outscoring and dominating the world it was amazing and fun to watch.

USA     116     Angola           48

USA     103     Croatia          70

USA     111     Germany        68

USA     127     Brazil             83

USA     122     Spain             81

USA     115     Puerto Rico     77

USA     127     Lithuania         76

USA     117     Croatia           85 

I just don't think that the last few teams have brought the hunger that the original teams did.  Granted, the playing ability of the world's players has increased.  Look at the number of international players on NBA rosters and it is easy to figure out that  the world is catching on to the game. 

But for a sport that should be easily dominated by the US, to have other countries beat our teams the way they have is disheartening. 

I also am old enough to have seen Bruce Jenner win the decathlon gold medal at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal.  That was great to watch—especially during the United States' bicentennial year. 

Another athlete that I admire is Kerri Strug, gymnastics from the '96 Atlanta games.  It was fantastic to watch her vault with a broken leg to win the first US women's
gymnastics team's gold medal.

I am a tremendous fan of the Olympics—summer and winter—but I will say that I do not like that the Olympic committees are taking baseball and softball out of the Olympics. 

Some of the current sports—and these are totally personal preferences—that I am not sure that I like are rhythmic gymnastics, synchronized swimming, and trampoline.