Unselfish Team USA follows LeBron's lead

Unselfish Team USA follows LeBron's lead

Postby nesli on Mon Aug 28, 2006 11:12 pm

Unselfish Team USA follows LeBron's lead
Kobe Bryant missing as Americans repair image
SAITAMA, JAPAN - The expansive train platform nestled alongside the Saitama Super Arena on the northern outskirts of sprawling Tokyo is truly the gateway to the FIBA World Championship.

The vast majority of the spectators arrive via train, and they are greeted with a wave of advertisements.

The most unavoidable is a giant sticker affixed to the floor just past the turnstiles that thousands of feet and eyeballs must cross every day of the mega-tournament.

It is a Nike ad, splayed with the innocuous question: ``LeBron or Kobe?''

It is part of a promotion the shoe giant is running that offers fans a free gift tied to one of the players and is aimed at drawing visitors to the company's Japanese basketball Web site. But, to a more trained Team USA follower, it also might be a basketball metaphor.

Kobe Bryant isn't in Japan with his fellow national team members. Knee surgery last month knocked him out, and he has been recovering and doing charitable work this summer in Los Angeles, though Nike will bring him to Asia soon for promotional work.

With the Americans butchering opponents and rebranding the tarnished image of USA Basketball, is it possible Kobe's absence advanced the team's cause?

The ownership of this edition of the Dream Team quickly ended up in the hands of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Carmelo Anthony. The overall attitude is really a product of James and Wade, who have founded an unselfish style that is shocking the international basketball world that long ago tagged American stars as snobbish and self-centered.

It was Wade, owner of an NBA Finals Most Valuable Player trophy and a forthcoming ring, who openly volunteered to come off the bench. It is a move that has proved to be brilliant; his entrance when the opposition is huffing and puffing almost always leads to a swing in the score.

The most recent example came Sunday against Australia. Wade ripped off the warm-ups with the score 12-12 and returned to the bench with the Americans up by 20.

Then there is James, whose willingness to share the ball is converting many new fans. He took a mere five shots in the win over Australia and repeatedly set up his teammates when he could have attempted a driving layup he surely would have finished -- or at least drawn a foul.

Amazingly, it has rubbed off. U.S. players are falling over themselves to share the glory as the ``Ugly American'' label starts to fray at the edges.

TNT analyst Steve Kerr wrote this in a column on Yahoo Sports: ``In many ways, James' play in this tournament epitomizes what looks like a revitalization of American basketball. He is helping establish an egoless chemistry.''

Others are expressing similar views.

``I'm surprised at how unselfishly they play,'' Australian guard C.J. Bruton said. ``Everyone likes to get their shots off; these guys get 17-20 shots a game in the NBA. This group takes the shots when they're open and shares the ball. In that way, you could compare them to Dream Team I and II.''

There is no doubt Bryant is one of the best players in the world. He owns three NBA titles and is coming off one of the most prolific scoring seasons in league history. His ability is unquestioned.

Were Bryant on Team USA, however, he probably would have been named a captain, if not the only captain, as one of the oldest and most experienced players. The team wouldn't necessarily have belonged to the three guns from the class of 2003, and the theme, as Bryant's game often suggests, might not have been to share before all else.

``It starts with me. Being the captain, if I'm out there passing up shots to get a better shot, it kind of rubs off on your teammates, and you can see that,'' James said. ``I'm not sure how having Kobe would've worked out. Kobe would've been a big part of our team.''

Kobe's role probably would have been what he does best: score. Wade and James are doing what they do best: lead unselfishly.

The Los Angeles Lakers and coach Phil Jackson tried to make Bryant a cog rather than the centerpiece in the playoffs against the Phoenix Suns. It almost worked, but the plan -- and Kobe -- fizzled in the end.

If Team USA steamrolls to a gold medal, how could the plan for the Olympics in Beijing in 2008 possibly differ from the strategy to allow Wade and James to wear the ``C'' and let them dictate play?

``Right now, we're the leaders,'' James said. ``And my teammates have done a great job following so far.''


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Brian Windhorst can be reached at bwindhor@thebeaconjournal.com. Check out Windhorst's Cavaliers weblog at http://blogs.ohio.com/cavaliers_blog.

I hope kobe won't play for Team Usa. The hate is so strong.
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Postby MarkMadsen on Mon Aug 28, 2006 11:16 pm

*yawn*

I wonder what will happen if Team USA actually loses......


"Team USA loses cause selfish Kobe decides not to play."
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Postby Hye4Life on Mon Aug 28, 2006 11:27 pm

Funny how they forgot to mention that Chris Paul almost got a record for assists in that game. But I guess they'll say that it was Lebron and Wade's influence that made him pass, forgetting to see that he was atop the league leaders in assists during the regular season.

I guess this kind of writing can be expected coming from a Cleveland newspaper as Lebron is their boy and everything.

But isn't it funny that they go to such great lengths to bring Kobe down just to make Lebron and Wade's accomplishments even better. Can't they just leave kobe alone and just have an article that praises Lebron and Wade. I guess not, not when KOBE, not Lebron or Wade, is the BEST PLAYER ON THE PLANET!
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Postby AussieLakerFan on Mon Aug 28, 2006 11:37 pm

Kobe would of been the captain of this team, no doubt.

He was the first player chosen and was intended to be the main cog.

I would expect to see a version of Kobe, not unlike we see in most allstar games... Create for others for the most part, bring out the daggers if he needs too...

Having all those other weapons on his side, he wouldn't need to score 30 pt+ a game... He would just use his presence on the court to create space for everyone else....

It's hard to imagine how much better this team would be, just with the addition of one player - Kobe Bryant.
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Postby revgen on Tue Aug 29, 2006 12:43 am

Kobe, IMHO is one of the most underrated passers in the league. Who do you think passed the ball to Shaq during the 3-peat era?

The real reason this team has succeeded is because of Coach K. Unlike Larry Brown, who always seems to belittle his teams, Coach K. has preached the teamwork philosophy that has been missing since the 2000 squad.

And who was most responsible for getting Coach K hired? The same player who wanted him to coach the Lakers awhile back. Kobe is far from an unselfish player that the media portrays him as.
"Every time he’s hurt, he always plays, he always comes through."

- Metta World Peace on teammate Kobe Bryant
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Postby dagreatkobe on Tue Aug 29, 2006 1:10 am

look at the weak competition we've played... columnists these days man. :disagree:
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Postby nameant on Tue Aug 29, 2006 10:47 am

:man10: why is this guy even talking about Kobe? these people amaze me.
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Postby A Rush on Tue Aug 29, 2006 11:18 am

dagreatkobe wrote:look at the weak competition we've played...


You are right about that. USA has an incredible draw where the only decent team it will play until the final is Greece in the semis. Meanwhile on the other side of the draw, two teams (Spain and Argentina) both capable of giving USA tough games and even beating the Americans will have to battle each other to get to the final. USA could have had a much much tougher draw. But then, that could be either a plus or a minus (not battle-tested yet). We'll see in the final.
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Postby LakRfAn on Tue Aug 29, 2006 11:29 am

nameant wrote::man10: why is this guy even talking about Kobe? these people amaze me.


Exactly.

Sadly, this is what passes for journalism these days.
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Postby shaqpak34 on Tue Aug 29, 2006 12:25 pm

why isn't there a single statement praising carmelo for his performances...in my books HE has been the leader of team USA, yet wade and bron bron get the credit? i hate mainstream sports journalism and their blind submissions to popular thought..of course my main issue with this article is the haterade that kobe's name is doused in; however i thoguht that it was interesting that carmelo gets overlooked as well wen it comes to lauding team USA and its play
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Postby Savory Griddles on Tue Aug 29, 2006 12:39 pm

After Brian Windhorst's exclusive one-on-one interview with Lebron James, he had something white dribbling from his chin.
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Postby low on Tue Aug 29, 2006 12:45 pm

shaqpak34 wrote:why isn't there a single statement praising carmelo for his performances...in my books HE has been the leader of team USA, yet wade and bron bron get the credit? i hate mainstream sports journalism and their blind submissions to popular thought..of course my main issue with this article is the haterade that kobe's name is doused in; however i thoguht that it was interesting that carmelo gets overlooked as well wen it comes to lauding team USA and its play


exactly what i was thinking.It's like they have already decided that Melo is the 3rd best player from his draft.That's it.He plays at a hi9gh level yet they don't write about him.
And the Kobe hate goes on of course.What are rthey gonna say if US loose?That it was Kobe's fault?Cause he was hurt at the wrong time?
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Postby nameant on Tue Aug 29, 2006 1:17 pm

all you need to look at is where the guy lives....
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Postby Punk-101 on Tue Aug 29, 2006 1:40 pm

"lebron takes a mere 5 shots in a win" and its a praise to his team play
"kobe takes a mere 5 shots in a win" and he's pouting or making a point. oh the hypocracy :man6:
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Postby hoopschick03 on Tue Aug 29, 2006 1:51 pm

Carmelo, by far, has been the best player on Team USA.
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Postby ladam24 on Tue Aug 29, 2006 2:08 pm

Is it just me or is LeBron sounding a bit to, i dunno, "confident".

I mean "It all starts with me." Sure, thats the way it is in Cleveland, but on team USA, there are 3 or 4 other players of your caliber out there.

I hope LeBron doesn't follow Wade and go all "humble" on us.

...Yeah right.
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Postby hoopschick03 on Tue Aug 29, 2006 2:14 pm

ladam24 wrote:Is it just me or is LeBron sounding a bit to, i dunno, "confident".

I mean "It all starts with me." Sure, thats the way it is in Cleveland, but on team USA, there are 3 or 4 other players of your caliber out there.

I hope LeBron doesn't follow Wade and go all "humble" on us.

...Yeah right.


Too Late. :mhihi: :mhihi:

Was it the 'It all starts with me' that gives it away? Or maybe the Chosen 1 tatoo stretched out across his back? I dunno...humility is such a perceptual thing these days. To me, LeTravel was never humble. Not really his fault. He had the NBA Red Carpet rolled out for him from the time he was a junior in high school.
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Postby Kwame on Tue Aug 29, 2006 2:20 pm

hoopschick03 wrote:
ladam24 wrote:Is it just me or is LeBron sounding a bit to, i dunno, "confident".

I mean "It all starts with me." Sure, thats the way it is in Cleveland, but on team USA, there are 3 or 4 other players of your caliber out there.

I hope LeBron doesn't follow Wade and go all "humble" on us.

...Yeah right.


Too Late. :mhihi: :mhihi:

Was it the 'It all starts with me' that gives it away? Or maybe the Chosen 1 tatoo stretched out across his back? I dunno...humility is such a perceptual thing these days. To me, LeTravel was never humble. Not really his fault. He had the NBA Red Carpet rolled out for him from the time he was a junior in high school.



More like LeChoker!

But yea its not all about him in team USA, in Cleveland yea it starts with him but on this team there are players that can replace him
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Postby The Laker Link on Tue Aug 29, 2006 2:23 pm

I left my opinion on that thing....

Look for Peenu.....

But if not...I'll say it again here....

"Lebron should be happy with how this team is getting played now and realize that it'll be the same if/when Kobe gets there in 2 years!"

Kobe will pass, kobe will score, and kobe will rebound just like everyone else...some days he might score 30...some days he might score 10....but he is gonna be a nice help to U.S.A. This will be one of the things that VH1 talks about when it comes to I love the 2000's and Kobe will be there.....
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Postby jBL on Tue Aug 29, 2006 3:09 pm

A Rush wrote:
dagreatkobe wrote:look at the weak competition we've played...


You are right about that. USA has an incredible draw where the only decent team it will play until the final is Greece in the semis. Meanwhile on the other side of the draw, two teams (Spain and Argentina) both capable of giving USA tough games and even beating the Americans will have to battle each other to get to the final. USA could have had a much much tougher draw. But then, that could be either a plus or a minus (not battle-tested yet). We'll see in the final.


Even another WBC (World Baseball Classic). US sets and plays the way they want, and always end up losing out early set by their own traps.
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Postby puffyusaf#2 on Tue Aug 29, 2006 4:18 pm

shaqpak34 wrote:why isn't there a single statement praising carmelo for his performances...in my books HE has been the leader of team USA, yet wade and bron bron get the credit? i hate mainstream sports journalism and their blind submissions to popular thought..of course my main issue with this article is the haterade that kobe's name is doused in; however i thoguht that it was interesting that carmelo gets overlooked as well wen it comes to lauding team USA and its play


I was going to say something very similar to this after reading the artlicle but decided to read the post first..... You hit it on the head. Melo is Team USA its a simple as that.
For what it's worth, the Lakers also clinched the Pacific Division, an achievement Bryant dismissed by saying "We don't hang divisions." No, only the big NBA championship banners are considered wall-worthy for the Lakers.
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Postby Kept on Tue Aug 29, 2006 5:23 pm

Why is an Ohio "Cavalier's" Internet Blog ripping Kobe?
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Postby Little_Duck on Tue Aug 29, 2006 6:22 pm

The jealous and hatred is disgusting. Kobe is seriously the most hated NBA player ever.
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Postby strikemode14 on Tue Aug 29, 2006 7:40 pm

A. Paul and Melo are the stars here not Bron. Why not mention them seeing that Paul is their best passer and Melo their best scorer.
B. If Bryant is on the team just shut down the world games becuase it's over. Bryant would annhilate that zone. The 3 pt line is shooter in int'l play and the ball is smaller which plays into Bryant's hands.
C. Why is this dope even talking about Bryant?
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Postby AussieLakerFan on Tue Aug 29, 2006 8:20 pm

strikemode14 wrote:A. Paul and Melo are the stars here not Bron. Why not mention them seeing that Paul is their best passer and Melo their best scorer.
B. If Bryant is on the team just shut down the world games becuase it's over. Bryant would annhilate that zone. The 3 pt line is shooter in int'l play and the ball is smaller which plays into Bryant's hands.
C. Why is this dope even talking about Bryant?


The 3pt line is shorter, but the ball is not smaller....
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