USA Basketball Rumors
Even as the Russian team faces up to being barred from next month’s Winter Games for doping offenses, audiences are flocking to see a movie about Soviet glory on the Olympic basketball court 46 years ago. “Going Vertical” tells the story of the Soviet Union team which won gold in 1972, becoming the first basketball team in history ever to beat the United States at the Olympics.
Actor Kuzma Saprykin used his childhood basketball experience to play Ivan Edeshko, who threw what Russians still call the “golden pass” for the Soviets’ winning basket. “I didn’t think there would actually be this kind of colossal success,” he told The Associated Press. “It’s surprising when people send me videos, how at practically every screening people are clapping, with some kind of patriotism and spirit awakening in people.”
In the summer of 2008, as LeBron James and members of USA Basketball’s “Redeem Team” prepared for the Beijing Olympics, a 23-year-old James began ramping up the training regimen that has become a part of his standards today. “He leaves no stone unturned,” James’ longtime athletic trainer, Mike Mancias, told ESPN. “We do, collectively as a group, work as a group and say, ‘OK, what are we missing? What else? What else haven’t we tried? What else haven’t we uncovered?’ And, ‘Why not?'”
The U.S. men’s basketball team will host its next two World Cup qualifying games in Santa Cruz, California, at the home of the Golden State Warriors’ G League affiliate. The Americans will play Cuba on Feb. 23 and Puerto Rico on Feb. 26 at Kaiser Permanente Arena, USA Basketball announced Monday. The Americans beat Puerto Rico last month during their 2-0 start in the new qualifying format for the 2019 World Cup in China.