At times, it was almost magical. There were moments so inspiring that I stood up from my chair in the empty newsroom of my grad school, yelled to myself with a silent, mouth open roar (so as to not break the spell), and celebrated with arms flexed, just as I saw Chris Bosh do later, just as I once did during my own playing days.
The moments were entrancing, engulfing:
- Dwyane Wade’s steal/save/alley-oop to Kobe Bryant’s most emphatic finish since christening Dwight Howard
- Kobe Bryant’s over the shoulder flip to a cutting Wade for the strong, hanging and-one finish
- Chris Bosh’s numerous improbable lay-ups, scored after absorbing hard contact and nearly inhuman body contortion (perhaps the best in-air body control I have seen from a PF before)
- Chris Paul’s near destructive inside out dribble on a Grecian defender who only remained upright thanks to a screen from a USA player that prevented his descent into infamy
- LeBron James’s Harlem Globetrotters-esque slipping spinning dribble to lay-in
- The successive LeBron James and Chris Bosh block, a tangible exclamation point on the statement: this is for the last time, this is for all time
In what was billed as a heavyweight rematch between a former champ with a chip on his shoulder who against the all-business international talent that shocked, embarrassed, and dethroned him, the former champ regained his belt with a stunning KO in a display of intensity, heart, and determination.
Cherish the moments, those of you that watched the game, when USA Basketball simultaneously (and finally) realized both the necessary respect due to the rest of the world and the achievable results when motivating itself to perform to its highest level against that competition.
What you saw was the greatest collection of talent the world has seen since 1992, on one court, of one mind, and at its unstoppable best. What you saw was the Colangelo model attaining the grandiose intention that its original blueprints had schematically laid out.
Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Jason Kidd, Chris Paul, Carmelo Anthony, Dwight Howard. Possibly Deron Williams and Chris Bosh. The case could be made that they could all reach the Hall of Fame.
And then, perhaps, that they were inches away from the same level as the Originals.
But, talk of the future matters little. Leave the comparisons to the number crunchers – now is the time for the fans, for those who sipped the sweet nectar in a shared experience this morning, and all, with a due, cleansing gulp, exclaimed: “They’re back, and it tastes glorious.”
The intensity must remain, the ultimate goal is not yet attained. Spain is next. Germany will follow.
But, for today, for now, for those moments, the nectar tasted a tad more than glorious. It tasted as though tinged with gold.
Tags: Beijing Olympics, Carlos Boozer, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, Chris Paul, Coach K, Deron Williams, Dream Team, Dwight Howard, Dwyane Wade, Germany, Greece, Jason Kidd, Jerry Colangelo, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Michael Redd, Spain, Tayshaun Prince, Team USA Men's Basketball