Friday, September 01, 2006

Why USA Basketball Lost To Greece

Today in Japan, Team USA lost 101-95 to Greece in the semifinals of the FIBA World Championship. The defeat represents the latest in a string of disappointments for USA Basketball since capturing the gold medal at the 2000 Olympics. While many predicted that the Americans might fall to Argentina or Spain, a loss was not expected against the Greeks. Below are some reasons for Team USA's defeat.

1996 Olympics: Greece was tremendously disappointed when Atlanta was awarded the Centennial Olympic Games over Athens. Today's result is just part of the Greeks' revenge for the slight. Earlier, Athens Olympic organizers placed a curse on Atlanta's Olympic Stadium (now Turner Field), vowing to bring pain to the stadium's occupants each October.

Alex Rodriguez: This reason is just for Yankees fans. A-Rod had nothing to do with the loss, but New Yorkers will be happy to blame him. And for the Knicks.

Antawn Jamison: The Washington Wizard is a member of Team USA. Having Mike Krzyzewski and a Tar Heel on the same team violated the laws of nature and just invited trouble from the basketball gods.

Brand & Battier: Perhaps to compensate, Coach K had two of his former Duke players in Elton Brand and Shane Battier. It is well-established that Blue Devils are incapable of winning championships after leaving school.

Coach K's: Before Krzyzewski, Team USA's previous World Championship coach was George Karl, who also fell short in 2002. As a result, USA Basketball has eliminated Stephen King and Greg Kinnear from consideration for 2010.

College Football: Many Team USA players are avid college football fans. They would have felt guilty if an appearance in the finals had taken attention away from Saturday's action on campus.

Darko Milicic: LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, and Dwyane Wade have been the three best players on Team USA. Milicic was drafted just after LeBron, but before Anthony and Wade in 2003. So clearly he would have been a dominator for Team USA. Alas, the Serbian native was unavailable to the Americans.

Doctors: American basketball can claim Julius Erving, better known as Dr. J. However, ancient Greece was home to Hippocrates, the "Father of Medicine." So he has bragging rights over all other doctors.

FIBA: Most basketball fans believe that the name of the tournament's governing body is from the French translation of International Basketball Federation. However, FIBA actually stands for "Friday Is Bad, America."

Long Names: Team USA's three leading scorers on Friday were Anthony, Wade, and James. On the other hand, the top three for Greece were Vassilis Spanoulis, Mihalis Kakiouzis, and Sofoklis Schortsianitis. Compared to Greece, Team USA's staff wasted far more preparation time figuring out how to spell and pronounce the opponents' names.

Michael Redd: The three-point stalwart was invited to participate, but declined due to his wedding. The squad suffered from a lack of patriotism with no Redd, White or Blue on the roster. It was too late to add Jahidi White or Blue Edwards.

NBA Finals: The Americans defeated Germany in their previous game. The last time Dwyane Wade beat Dirk Nowitzki, he immediately got to celebrate a championship. He assumed that would also be the case this time, so he was not prepared to play two more games.

Nia Vardalos: The star of My Big Fat Greek Wedding proved that Greek underdogs can conquer America.

Paul Tagliabue: The NFL commissioner's retirement officially takes effect today. Believing that all guys named Paul were entitled to take the day off, Chris Paul failed to score from the field.

USA Teams in 2006: It has been a rough year for the Stars & Stripes. The Olympic ice hockey team failed to medal, and the World Baseball Classic and World Cup squads fell far short of expectations. In 2006, the "USA" on the teams' uniforms has stood for "Un-Successful Athletes."