Open Mic: The Olympics Are Coming?

David Parks@DavidParks10Correspondent IJuly 29, 2008

I'm not sure if any of you have heard, but the Summer Olympic Games are coming up. Personally, I couldn't care less.

Look. It doesn't matter how much you used to enjoy the Olympics or still do enjoy the Olympics. You can't deny that they have lost a significant amount of luster.

Years ago, the Olympics would be headlining the news right now with the favorites in each event, and which country is the favorite to bring home the most gold medals.

However, with the recent news of some prominent Americans testing positive for steroids (Marion Jones and Tim Montgomery to name a couple) it seems as if American interest in the Summer games is at an all-time low.

When Beijing was chosen as an Olympic site several years ago there were people who were skeptical over whether the air quality in Beijing was good enough for the world's best athletes.

Fast forward to present day and needless to say, Beijing makes Los Angeles look like it has the clean air. The city's brilliant developers and government decided that they would merely take the factories that were creating all the smog and just move them down wind. I see. Instead of just taking a couple of weeks off for the most historic sporting event the world has ever seen, we're just going to move all the factories down wind. At least that'll solve the air problem. Wait. No it won't.

That being said, let's take a look at the upcoming summer games in Beijing.

Like I said, I really don't care about the Olympics as much as I do our domestic games here in the United States such as the MLB, NBA, NFL, and college sports. That being said, I still have a rooting interest for the red, white, and blue to bring home gold.

But if I had to pick an event that I want the Americans to win more than any other it would be basketball.

I grew up in the years of the Dream Team. The team that no one in the world could stop. That team won every game they played, and they won their games by an average of 48.3 points a game, with coach Chuck Daly of the Pistons never using a timeout throughout the entire duration of the Olympics.

For my money, the 1992 Olympic basketball team was the greatest team to ever take the floor ever, in any sport. Better than any all-star team or pro bowl team. This was the greatest team ever. Of the 12-man roster, 10 went on to be named to the NBA's 50 greatest players list. Just look at the roster:


Charles Barkley—Suns

Larry Bird—Celtics

Clyde Drexler—Trailblazers

Patrick Ewing—Knicks

Magic Johnson—Lakers

Michael Jordan—Bulls

Christian Laettaner—Duke University

Karl Malone—Jazz

Chris Mullin—Warriors

Scottie Pippen—Bulls

David Robinson—Spurs

John Stockton—Jazz


This brings me back to today's basketball team. There's no question that foreign basketball has improved simply by the fact that the U.S. hasn't won gold in the Olympics since the 2000 Sydney Games.

I don't only think that the United States should win gold this year in the games, I think that they need to.

With the recent signings of NBA players to go play in Europe, the NBA needs the U.S. to bring gold home, or else more and more players will see that there is just as high a level of basketball being played overseas.

So LeBron, Kobe, if you're listening, not only do we expect you to bring home gold, we need you to.

Now in terms of different sports that I prefer, give me any sport that is decided by actual performance instead of some judge giving you a score.

I know that the French judge scandal happened in the 2002 Winter Olympics but I'm still skeptical of judges.

I'll take sports such as track & field and swimming over other sports like diving and gymnastics.

Now make no mistake about it. I'm not saying that these divers and gymnasts aren't great athletes, because they are. I'm just saying that I'm more inclined to watch Michael Phelps swim than I am to watch anyone dive.

And yes, I know that track & field is one of the dirtiest sports, well, ever, but so is baseball and I still enjoy watching it because the play is decided on the field rather than by five people sitting with a clipboard and paper who somehow concoct a score out of the dive a person just did.

I've actually had people ask me over the last couple of weeks whether or not I like watching the more mainstream sports, such as basketball, tennis, and soccer in Olympic format more than I like watching them in their respective leagues.  

For me, the answer is it's not even close. Give me the NBA, the World Cup/European Leagues, and Wimbledon over the Olympics.

I'm sorry. Maybe several years ago I would've said the Olympics but I just struggle to get excited about them.

Look at the recent success that each of these three leagues has had in just this past year.

The NBA enjoyed a finals matchup between its two most glorified franchises. The World Cup was a constant for excitement with the climax being Zinadine Zidane of France whipping out his lethal head butt on an Italian defender, and Wimbledon just played host to the greatest tennis match ever played.

What? I'm supposed to get excited by a possible USA vs. Argentina final? I mean, yes, I'll be excited just because the U.S. is in the running for gold, but if I didn't get to watch that game it wouldn't be the end of the world.

Contrast that with the NBA finals, where I felt like I had to watch every game, and I did.

I know there are plenty of people out there that still love the Olympics, and there's nothing wrong with that. I just struggle with getting excited about them anymore.

Maybe some of it is the location. Maybe if it was on American soil I would be more excited about. Maybe if half of the athletes didn't turn up positive for steroids I would take them more serious. But until one of these things happens, the Olympics, to me, are just not that relevant anymore.


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