They shall fall to fields of child
So many pains, so much anguish. I more or less laid it down last night, and certainly said my piece early on. But look, I can't really say I'm surprised or moved by the loss to Greece. It's true, I might feel some deep-seeded need to take up Gilbert's side and cast USA ball as evil, short-sighted, and corrosive to all I cherish in this sport. And let's not so easily dispense with Zirin-gate, which appears both more tempting and far less dire in the wake of this crushing blow. Mainly though, I'm struck once again by what this tells us about the international game: even disciplined Americans fall, no-name squads can take them handily, and overseas, your mom and pop list of NCAA cast-offs burn like the most gleaming stars. USA basketball attempted to adjust its program, and this might just be proof that this is indeed a foreign land, one in which NBA players-due to nature, nurture, and practical constraints-might not be in a position to take the upper hand, much less romp through uncontested.
College ball has cast by many as the promised land from which so many potential greats were exiled or barred from by their own hubris. We've tended to assume that the international version, since it is "professional" and all, is somewhere between this and the NBA. Maybe it's time we radically re-think this ordering of the roundball cosmos, and start placing worldwide competition below NCAA, stocking teams with hard-working second and third options who have no choice but to toil godfully for the fate of American soil. I'll put it like this: in the same way that the First Memorial FreeDarko Primitive Death Troop was poised to make a mockery of both itself and the changes that have landed the sport where it is today, these goofy international tournaments are a parallel universe, a prism of lax inversion, that we invest faith and will in at our own peril. Trying new things is great and all, but only if you recognize that newness brings as many limitations as it does expansive gusts of liberty.
Oh, and because someone has to say it: FREE GILBERT ENDLESSLY AND IN ALL THINGS!!!!!!!!!