In Which The Team Redeems The Biggest Dream in Beijing

To cement the coming conclusion of my day job I decided to hop a plane to Beijing to offer a closer perspective on world events for those of you who can’t peel yourself away from that clip of the dog falling down the slide. – A.C.

They Took Our Jobs

by Alex Carnevale

BEIJING – The U.S.A. Basketball delegation to the Olympics didn’t address the situation in Darfur in comments to the media this week. And indeed, the Bush family followed suit in Beijing, saving its harshest language for the Russian invasion of Georgia and simply indicating to China who we are and what we’re about.

“It’s the Olympics,” some say. Right. It’s an international conspiracy for advertising revenue. The IOC is about as credibly non-partisan as the United Nations.

China is a fruitful marketplace: its marketers, its operators, are thugs and tyrants.

Kobe Bryant was showing just how free he feels when he suggested he’d be open to a big money offer from a European club, after he opts out of his contract after this year.

kobe gameplanning with The House Bunny

The irony is not lost on us. We promoted free minds and free markets, and now the world market is stealing our basketball players. In short, those goobacks have taken our players.

No, not a chicken sandwich! I want a goddamn cheeseburger and some goddamn fries, you fucking Goobacks! (watch the full ep here)

For Kobe’s young fanbase, it is inconceivable to think why he’d leave the NBA for smaller crowds in Italy or Spain. But for Kobe, the prospect of making twice as much money for half the games while living in a palace in Italy just doesn’t seem that bad at all.

Kobe has further irritated his American fanbase by touting the primacy of Olympic Gold. He and his compatriots have all but guaranteed a win after a humiliating Bronze showing in the 2004 games in Athens. He also has gamely frequented the vast plethora of hobags that Beijing has to offer.

As ESPN reporter Chris Sheridan put it:

Those venturing to the gambling tables have learned that the local currency is no good in the casino, which accepts only Hong Kong dollars — nearly identical in value to the pataca.

The currency du jour will become the yuan once the team gets to Shanghai and Beijing.

oh hey dwayne, i want you to know if i see another one of your T-mobile commercials, i’m going to take your mom hostage

When the 1992 team swept to a gold medal, the talent on other countries was meager at best. Now the United States faces a number of competitive teams, including a Spanish team that features twin 7 footers Marc and Pau Gasol and backcourt whizzes Jose Calderon and Rudy Fernandez. The Argentinian and Greek teams are also deep and talented, and have been playing with one another far longer than the 18 month period the U.S. team has been intact.

josh childress going to greece

The U.S. has also faced major problems adjusting to the intricacies of the international game. The wider trapezoidal lane means it’s more difficult to penetrate zone defenses. The three point line is also shorter, making for a more difficult adjustment than you’d think, as the U.S. shot terribly from that distance in their opening win against China.

Another major difference in international play is that once the ball has hit the rim, anyone may touch it. You can also block shots against the backboard. This should theoretically be an advantage for the much more physically impressive American team, but the instinct to not do something is hardwired, and it’s really only been LeBron James who has utilized the rule to its best effect.

Much like in Athens, the Americans are cocky and overconfident. Despite the fact that the team is composed mostly of African-Americans from humble backgrounds, and that a few of its players were not even born in this country, they ooze arrogant patriotism at their pores.

The remaining opposition is a litany of stereotyped villains straight out of central casting. I believe a few of the members of the German team actually appeared in Beerfest.

The Germanics feature four seven footers (really!), a disturbing assemblage of testicles, broad shoulders, and beer stiens.

The Spanish team is composed of rogue villains along the lines of Inigo Montoya or the guy that fucked up Zorro’s mom. Point guard Jose Calderon flanks the menacing brothers Gasol, and soon-to-be Portland Trailblazer Rudy Fernandez is a potent scoring wing. They’re so comfortable with one another, they posed for a racist picture:

the spanish team making squinty eyes…you can’t make this stuff up people

The Argentinian squad is led by everyone’s favorite flopper, Manu Ginobili. The defending champs feature a number of talented NBA players. They have considerably less firepower for this go around, but they are no pushover. What the American public won’t understand is that this Argentinian team is maybe the fourth best in the competition, and they have more than a prayer of beating the U.S. team over the course of a forty-minute (that’s the international length of game) contest.

david blatt shaking hands with an iranian player

The Russian squad, led by Jazz point forward Andrei Kirilenko and American expat J.R. Holden is probably the most bizarre. In a typical Russian move, the evil empire hired American/Israeli David Blatt to lead their squad, causing my head to spin completely around seventy-five times. You can’t help but feel they’ve abducted someone’s wife as ransom.

The basic problem that the Redeem Team will have is the same problem America has, making this a convenient article for me to be writing.

The Redeem Team is basically Bush. He’s one cocky SOB and he rolls up to China and he’s like, “I gave him some of my strong talk.” I think he actually said that to Bob Costas. He hasn’t really taken stock of the situation, and his influence doesn’t take him as nearly as far as he imagines. At the end of the night Bush is probably going to find himself in the same place as the Redeem Team – with very low popularity with the American people.

That’s why it’s important to emphasize what’s great about America while the world is watching. This is the place where some Polish dude can order around the world’s finest athletes and they love him for it. This is where superhumans can become cute friends and watch The Notebook together on plane flights to Macau.

how adorable are cp3 and deron on the miniature sized computer!!!

In the meantime, we stand with our peace-loving friends.

Cuttino’s Georgian Life

The Latest

Yglesias-Kristol

Obama’s statement

Moscow’s Sinister Brilliance

Bob Kaplan on the conflict

George Will on Russia’s big d

The War on the ‘Net

Gorbachev on what’s happening

The neocon and realist responses

Georgian journalist in The Nation

In memoriam. These were comrades whom I had; there are no better. They remain in my mind, and the enemy will never be forgiven. The “enemy” was their mistake in playing. Let them play again, in some other way, and let them be happy. – Philip K. Dick

“Nothingman” – Pearl Jam (mp3)

Alex Carnevale will be taking reader questions about the Olympic games in our TR Live Chatroom on Thursday. Tune in to win bonus prizes like a lock of Lambert’s hair, or the shampoo bottle Danish left in my bathroom.

AMERICA: WE’RE IN YOUR TALONS AND WE’RE NEVER LETTING GO

“Dark Horse” – Bowerbirds” (mp3)

“My Oldest Memory” – Bowerbirds (mp3)

“The Marbled Godwit” – Bowerbirds (mp3)

“In Our Talons” – Bowerbirds (mp3)

“Hooves” – Bowerbirds (mp3)

bush’s approval rating over eight years

PREVIOUSLY ON THIS RECORDING

Mary-Louise Parker and her booty.

Molly talks ALL THE TIME.

George and George Saunders.

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