There will never be another team like it
Yeah, I know, a bit late.
Warned you about this central time zone thing.
Spent a fair chunk of last night watching TV – I know, hardly what you’d think, right? – but it was more than worth it.
The good folks at NBA TV gave us a chance to watch their latest documentary, a 90-minute gem to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Dream Team and, man, was it good.
It’s done by the same people who did Once Brothers, the awesome doc on Vlade Divac and Drazen Petrovic, and for a guy who actually covered the Dream Team at the 199 Tournament of the Americas in Portland and then the Barcelona Olympics, it was a treat to stroll down memory lane with some excellent behind the scenes footage and interviews with every member of the team.
(An aside: You’re a bit screwed in Canada because I don’t know what you’ll see it; I see that there’s CFL exhibition football and soccer repeats on Wednesday night when it airs down here; NBA TV Canada will have it at 11 p.m., I'm told.)
Got me thinking about a point the film makes:
This was the single greatest sports team ever compiled in any sport anywhere.
There has never been another – even the 1972 Canada pucks team left off WHA players – and I cannot imagine any country in any sport getting that many Hall of Famers again now.
What that team did was, frankly, to alter the landscape in its sport around the world.
Sure, they won ridiculously easily but that’s not the point. Their mere presence in Portland and Barcelona – with a pit stop in Monte Carlo – gave the game a prominence it never had and is in no small way responsible for the global explosion of the sport and the presence of guys in the NBA today like Dirk Nowitzki and the Gasols and Tony Parker and Jose Calderon and Serge Ibaka and Andrea Bargnani.
I can’t tell you what it was like to see that team play. It put aside egos and it was a delight to watch. They played with and for each other and it was as close to perfect basketball as we will ever see. They were the Beatles off the court and on Las Ramblas and they were amazing to watch; there will never be another in any sport, ever.
The documentary should be required viewing for all fans (whenever you can view it back home) and my friend Jack McCallum – who was the reporter perhaps closer to that team than any other – has a book on the anniversary coming out next month that I cannot wait to read.
(Oh yeah, I told Jack I’d plug it; go here, read the excerpt and pre-order. You’re welcome, Jack)
Oh, and this ends the debate, which should never have occurred in the first place:
I don’t care what you call what American basketball team from here on in, I don’t care who’s on it or what it does or what it wins. We need to never refer to any team as the Dream Team; there was only one, it played 20 years ago and changed the sporting landscape worldwide.
Why wouldn’t you see about an eight-foot tall plastic penguin on a sidewalk in Oklahoma City?
Wow, what a day.
Frank Drucker and Teofilo Stevenson pass away on the same day?
Tough, tough day.
Now, which was the more important guy?
Frank Drucker was hilarious, the voice of reason around the zaniness of Oliver and Lisa Douglas; he handled the girls on Petticoat Junction pretty well.
Stevenson? Maybe the greatest amateur boxer ever? Think you could make that point and it’s just too bad we never got to see more of him.
So, what’s new at the Finals?
Well, we’ll get to far more on Old Friend Chris Bosh later this morning to get us through the first edition of tomorrow’s paper but the one thing I came away with from the media session yesterday was that the Heat are far, far more relaxed this time around.
Bosh was chatty without being nervous, LeBron James looked like he was going to fall asleep when he was talking from the podium and Dwayne Wade seemed a bit unexcited himself.
“Not making a big deal out of everything, I understand that this is the Finals and it’s cool and all but it’s basketball and at the end of the day, we’re going to be throwing the ball up and we’re going to do what we’ve been doing since we were born.”
Is that a good thing? Probably.
But I’ve still got the Thunder in six; how about you?
First sign of a credentialed “reporter” wearing team gear?
The guy in the Miami Heat t-shirt at about 11:45 yesterday morning in the workroom of the arena.
Nice touch. And you wonder why our reputation is what it is.
Oh yeah, we’ll give an IGBT a shot tonight, about 9 eastern time; they tell me wireless shouldn’t be an issue and as long as I’m not sitting up in the rafters it should work out all right.
See you then.
Just got the note that Damian Lillard get his workout with the Raptors this afternoon, on his own, after a handful of others go this morning in a group setting.
If you give me a few minutes and check back to our website, I’ll get a little look at Lillard written and you can learn a bit more about him, maybe.