The funny thing is, no matter what people in denver, cleveland, or miami want to say is, this was no where near the best players we have to offer. For various reasons, these people didn't play, but if they did, we would've destroyed everyone:
I just rattled off 10 people of the top of my head that are better than any of the players that went to Japan. The only iffy's are obviously melo/lbj/wade, but you can make an argument that every one of those players listed above are better than those three.
And then other players that could have helped:
and of course, Al Harrington
But seriously, that first set of 10 that I ran off all had their legitimate or gay reasons not to go and thats why we lost. We don't love our country that much and thats the bottom line. And those players are right for not going.
Take Kobe for example...say the Lakers made it to the finals this year. Then his knee is really hurting him. Do you think he would get knee surgery before Game 1? Ofcourse not. He would wait till after the playoffs.
So then, with that logic, why didn't he wait till after the World Championships in Japan to get his knee surgery done? Becuase if did, then he would be out 6-8 weeks from now, which means he would miss parts of training camp and it would take the first 3 weeks of the season for him to get back into shape. So to Kobe, the NBA (and training camp) is more important than USA gold.
But you know what, we're americans and we work for $$$ only. And if I was Kobe, I'd do the same thing. I'd be like, I'd rather miss Japan, than have the Lakers start the season 3-12 without me because that might be too big of a hole for this young team to climb out of
One more thing I'd like to add...we will constantly be sending our second best out there until either a) the monetary prize of the olympics outweighs the money from the NBA or b) we put our American pride over our love of money. I mean, you have people who didn't want to represent their country because they were getting married in the summer. OK dude, seriously, those mo fos make a gazillion dollars...they can easily a)change the date of the wedding or b)hire a wedding planner to handle everything so all the dude has to do is fly over say "Fo' Sho" and then they are married. Simple as that
Obviously neither of those will happen. And you can see it when people like Shaq say he doesn't want to go to the Olympics cuz he has already won gold once and now its time for everyone else to get a chance.
What is Shaq saying about winning gold? Some kind of freak show at the zoo that everyone should go see? Would Shaq, after winning his first NBA title say, OK I'm going to sit out this year (2001) so that the other teams in the NBA can get the ring?
Of course not. We as Americans value the NBA title more than the Gold. And now we are pushing our nose way in the sky by saying international rules are gay and stuff like that. Bottom line is, we aren't going to care until the money is increased, or the only way our pride will get affected is if Argentia and Spain and the likes all join the NBA and they win the NBA championship. Then you'll see that we'll put our best team together. Otherwise, all of this is just considered an extended training camp.