Team USA has puts its collection of talent together for 2010 FIBA Championship in Turkey. This initial collection of 22 potential national representatives is far from as impressive as the All-NBA team that rolled out for the 2008 Olympic Games in China. Still, there is no real sense of worry that our national team will fail to bring home the first outright FIBA Championship since 1994.
I am looking at this roster of 22 and can barely find a team of 12 players I am excited to see representing our country playing a sport we should own every single year. Meanwhile, the Miami Heat are rumored to be rounding out their roster with the additions of Michael Finley and Jerry Stackhouse, two former all stars apparently willing to take the NBA veteran minimum to be a part of sports history.
Now I see these two situations and I believe I have come up with a solution, let the Miami Heat represent the United States at the 2010 FIBA Championship. The NBA, TNT, ESPN, and ABC are banking on this team to boost ratings all season long and the national sports nation has turned on LeBron and Wade (to a much minor extent) after very bad public relation flubs (one sank an entire city into a depression and the other used a terrible analogy to the 9/11).
Letting this team play at the tournament let’s the nation get a little preview of the dominance to come and helps two of the most amiable superstars in sports repair any damage to their public image, which matters since these guys make more in endorsement deals than through their Heat salary.
This cockamamie scheme is not without its share of hiccups. Zydrunas Ilgauskas is ineligible to play for the team, since he is Lithuanian. However, the recent signing of Juwan Howard and Jamaal Magloire give the Heat enough size to comfortably send a roster of 12 to Turkey. The first to sign between Michael Finley and Jerry Stackhouse could join the 11 other Heat (I am not counting Kenny Hasbrouk, even if he is listed on the Miami Heat roster on ESPN).
I much prefer this to what will likely become the real 2010 Team USA. There is one pure shooter on this team (Stephen Curry) to break the zone, too many point guards likely to be called for carrying at least five times a game (Derrick Rose and Rajon Rondo), and Robin Lopez and Javale McGee are real possibilities to play center for this team. These players can barely start for an NBA franchise and they get to try out for this team? Heck, McGee was added to the 22 because of a strong Summer League workout!
We have not one this event, the FIBA Championship since 1994, why make me wait until 2014? Put a real team trying to create cohesion out there and the results will be far better, plus each game will be a ratings bonanza for whichever network is broadcasting the games.