Mark Cuban on if the Olympics is about patriotism or money: “There’s no such thing in my mind as false patriotism. When you put on the jersey, you’re doing it for the right reason. Everyone really knows what this is about because if it truly was patriotism, we would give a hard time to every player who refused to play. Why wouldn’t you? We give them a pass because we understand that they have to protect their future. There’s so many other places where we don’t give anybody a pass if you put the United States second. But everyone in the heart knows this is truly about economics, not truly about playing for your country. And if we give people a pass, not just in basketball but other sports as well, if we say, ‘Put your financial future ahead of playing in this tournament,’ we’re okay with that. Then it is about economics. There’s no if’s, and’s or but’s about it. The biggest trick the IOC ever played was making us believe the Olympics was about patriotism.”
Vin Baker’s gold medal from the 2000 Olympics in Sydney sold for $67,642 on Thursday morning. The medal, sold by Grey Flannel Auctions, is believed to be the first Olympic gold medal publicly sold of a pro U.S. men’s basketball player since NBA players started playing in the Olympics beginning with the “Dream Team” in 1992. Carmelo Anthony’s bronze medal from the 2004 games sold in June for $14,080.
“I was very unhappy back in 2004 when the USA finished third at the Olympics, not so much for finishing third but how they looked, how they acted,” Colangelo said. “To me, there is a way to conduct yourself both on and off the floor. “So that all had to change. “I’m proud to be an American, I’m proud to represent the USA on the international stage, I love the game. I have a passion for the game. So for me, it’s giving back to the game that I love so much.”
Beyond the long-running legacy of Tim Duncan, Gregg Popovich will be attached to perhaps the most successful and accommodating system in NBA history for international talent. The San Antonio Spurs coach reminisced about his first international experience during last week’s visit to Boston. “My first year in the league was in ’88 with coach (Larry) Brown, and I didn’t know jack, but I knew I wanted to go overseas, so I begged him to let me go over for the ’88 European Championships in Koln, Germany,” Popovich said. “The only other NBA guy in the room was (Don Nelson). There was nobody else in there. That’s when he was bringing Sarunas Marciulionis back (from Lithuania). “I was like a kid in a candy store looking around,” he said. “That’s when Yugoslavia was Yugoslavia and they had that team. It was ridiculous. The Russians were really good when they were the Soviet Union; players everywhere. I knew early on it was a market we wanted to tap. That’s why we did (Tony) Parker at (pick No.) 28, and Manu (Ginobili) in the 50s, and (Luis) Scola after him.
That’s another aspect of Aldridge that’s evolved – that he is thinking of his career in the long view, picturing how he will adjust. He said he plans to play for Team USA in the World Cup this summer and would also like to play in the 2016 Olympics in Brazil, which will be held shortly after his 31st birthday.