World Championship Rumors
There is much on which to reflect, of course. Since the disaster that was the 2002 World Championship in Indianapolis, which saw the first loss suffered by a U.S. team that was using pro players and had Team USA finishing sixth, and the debacle in Athens in 04, the Americans have gone 42-1 in tournament play, winning four gold medals and a bronze (in the 2006 world championships, a rebuilding effort of sorts). While there are legitimate concerns about whether stars such as James and Carmelo Anthony will want to pursue another gold medal next summer, Colangelo points out it was that group of players, with Dwyane Wade, who helped push the Team USA rebuild. Both James and Anthony were part of the Athens team and, coming off their rookie NBA seasons, had generally miserable experiences in Greece.
Adam Silver: “I realize you can’t just take the existing 82 game schedule, regular season plus playoffs then just plop another tournament down on top of it. I think you’d have to take a serious look at the All-Star break if it were a midseason tournament, the game itself, events around All-Star, but conceivably what a midseason tournament could look like is some number of teams, you could either begin with all the teams and have a single-elimination tournament, it’s another area where through floating the idea, I’ve gotten some really interesting suggestions. It may be an opportunity to bring in international clubs, there’s been talk about the NBA sponsoring a world championship, of course there’s a world cup now which the United States participates in, but for the NBA, club championships are very different. We, I and others at the league office have studied the champions league for European soccer. They have other types of cups and midseason tournaments.
I asked Pelicans coach Monty Williams how he planned to handle the minutes of star Anthony Davis after the forward spent so much time this summer with Team USA for the FIBA World Championships. He had a pretty interesting answer (and even got a bit animated). “We’ve talked to our training staff to make sure we give him the proper rest but at the same time he’s 21 (years old),” Williams said. “He doesn’t get tired until he’s like 28.
In 2006, after two poor international showings by Team USA, Jerry Colangelo and Mike Krzyzewski called a lock-down defensive specialist: Bruce Bowen. They wanted the then three-time NBA All-Defensive first-team selection to be the glue guy the national team had missed in previous tournaments. But he was cut just three days before the start of the World Championship that Japan hosted that year. It seems Bowen hasn’t forgotten. “I’m an american, I had an opportunity to represent my country and I was thrilled about that. It was one of the highlights of that year… Until I was cut”. “It’s not that I couldn’t make the team, I got cut. I still have problems with that”, Bowen said half-jokingly, half seriously in Madrid, Spain.
The veteran guard wrote about his side of the saga in his latest column for Argentina’s La Nacion, describing himself as “sad and disappointed” at being unable to represent his country for what might have been the last time. I very much regret the bad news. I wanted to say goodbye to the team on the court and be with my friends, but it cannot be. I’ll be with the team as long as possible, trying to add from the outside and supporting at all times.