By Anthony Sellers
When I woke up this morning, it dawned on me (and yes, I did wake up at dawn!) that the 2012 Summer Olympics are fast approaching. What made it evident was a picture of the Men’s USA Olympic Basketball Team that showed up on my Facebook newsfeed.
The thought of being able to watch basketball right before football season starts initially aroused me (See #5 on my all-time quote list here). I must admit that I am also somewhat surprised at a couple of the players that were added to this year’s team. Perhaps the most surprising beard, err I mean face, to see was James Harden. Watching him disappear against fellow USA teammate LeBron James and the Miami Heat during the NBA Finals may have me more ill-willed about him being part of the Olympic team. I hope he proves me wrong and provides the offensive spark off the bench in London that he couldn’t provide the Thunder in the Finals.
Also joining Harden on the team for the first time are Thunder teammates Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, the latter of which I was also a little surprised to see on the team. I know many Westbrook “detractors” so to speak. I, overall, am not one of them, but he’s also not who I think of when I think of athletes to represent Team USA. With that being said, I think Westbrook will bring a different aspect and fire to the team. I also think his time on the team will make him an overall better player.
Keep in mind both Derrick Rose and Dwayne Wade are not playing due to injuries. Harden would not be on the team if Wade wasn’t injured and I think, but not completely certain, Westbrook would have been the odd man out if Rose hadn’t torn his ACL in the first round of the NBA Playoffs.
Another surprise to me was seeing Kevin Love in the picture. I’m not saying he doesn’t deserve to be on the team, because I think he is more than deserving to be on the roster. I just didn’t expect it. I was surprised, but also excited to see Love on the team, because he is the consummate American to represent the country, in my opinion.
Enough with the surprises! Who likes surprises? It’s time for the excitement! Who doesn’t want excitement? Blake Griffin is full of excitement! Nothing is going to be more exciting than seeing Griffin and his monstrous dunks tear the arena down. I’m looking forward to reading the headline “Lob City Flies to London” or something of the sort. If I knew I could watch every game in its entirety, I would try to keep track of how many opponents would become part of a poster with Griffin for all the wrong reasons. I’m honestly hoping Griffin can one up Vince Carter’s dunk over the 7’2” French center Frederic Weiss in the 2000 Sydney Olympic games. If you don’t remember what I’m talking about, click here and refresh your memory.
Griffin more than likely won’t be able to replicate or top Carter’s dunk, which forever lives in infamy, but I still expect him to create a plethora of highlight reel plays throughout this year’s Olympics.
I was also excited to see Andre Iguodala on the roster. I can’t lie, it wasn’t as exciting as when I saw Griffin was on the team, but for some reason I’ve always liked watching Iguodala play, but I don’t know why.
Durant, Griffin, Harden, Iguodala, Love and Westbrook join Tyson Chandler as the new members of Team USA. They will unite with retuning 2008 Olympic members Carmelo Anthony, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Chris Paul and Deron Williams in London in hopes of earning gold medals. Let’s be honest, with this lineup, anything less than gold is quite frankly a disgrace.