Round of Applause
USA Basketball seriously deserves more credit than it probably gets. I don’t think it’s much of a secret than I don’t particularly care for the NBA. It’s boring to me, and it’s got all sorts of ridiculous problems. But the fact that those guys come together to represent the United States at the Olympics gains them a lot of respect in my eyes. A bunch of guys who make way too much money decide to play a few weeks with no salary and the risk of injury — and maybe even worse, losing — just for the chance to wear the Stars and Stripes. That’s pretty special to me. And it makes it even better that the superstars of the sport are all on board with Team USA now. For a few years (2000 and 2004, namely) the best basketball players were too good, too busy or too tired to play in the Olympics. Thank goodness those days are over. The Olympics are the stage on which each country’s best athletes belong wearing their colors and I respect LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and the rest of those guys a heck of a lot more now that they’ve done it and won it multiple times.
Kobe Bryant gets even more respect from me for what he did throughout the Olympics off the court. He’s one of the top 10 basketball players ever but he sure didn’t take that attitude in London. I didn’t see any other American athlete anywhere near the number of events as Kobe. Michael Phelps’ last race? Kobe was there. The insanity in the velodrome? Kobe was there. Volleyball, women’s basketball, track? Kobe was there. I absolutely loved seeing him every time the camera showed him. Kobe gets it. Seeing him all over the place and listening to his postgame interviews after winning his second gold medal tells us that he understands the Olympics. He said that this is bigger than him, and bigger than that team. American success at the Olympics is what it’s all about, and he both added to the success and cheered on the rest. Huge kudos to Kobe Bryant. I no longer need to root against him.
Chorus of Boos
The Red Sox are embarrassing. It’s a darned good thing I didn’t pay attention to them at all over the last month because everything I’m hearing now sounds like it was a pretty awful month. Josh Beckett stinks, Jon Lester usually stinks, David Ortiz is hurt, Will Middlebrooks’ rookie season is over, Dustin Pedroia’s whining about everything, who knows what the outfield is doing, Bobby Valentine is reviving his clown act, there’s a mutiny going on, the owners are having meetings with the players, the bullpen hasn’t existed since 2007, and Adrian Gonzalez decided to play well while everyone else is playing terribly. It’s just a total joke, everything. The funniest thing about it all is that Valentine said two weeks ago that he thinks the Red Sox are still a playoff team. Laughing out loud. Just get this season over with, and hopefully next year goes better with no injuries and no clowns. And to make matters worse, Johnny Pesky died. RIP to the man after whom they named the right field pole.
Kyle Brennan is a contributing writer to the Citizen’s News.