Unlike his role on the Lakers, the guard sets the tone with intangibles such as defense, work ethic and hustle.
LA Times: Heavenly shades of night are falling, it’s twilight time for another U.S. basketball team.
Suspended between America’s dreams and recurring nightmares, this team is living up to the usual great expectations amid the usual casual interest: small crowds, a thin press corps, ESPN announcers doing the games from the studio in Bristol, Conn.
Unlike any team that ever competed in the NBA or NCAA, a U.S. team is judged solely by its bad outings.
If it destroys all in its path, it goes into the pantheon with Bill Russell’s 1956 team, Jerry West’s and Oscar Robertson’s in 1960, Bob Knight’s in 1984 and the 1992 Dream Team, itself.
Winning unimpressively, or even letting Mexico score 100 points as it did Monday, is a mild embarrassment.
Losing a game, let alone a tournament, is a disaster.
Losing year after year. . . as the U.S. has since 2000, failing even to make the finals in one Olympics and two World Championships. . . well, that’s where this team comes in.
Without fanfare, nine players have turned over from last summer’s young U.S. roster to this grown-up one, led by veterans like Jason Kidd and. . . Kobe Bryant?
- Related: Kobe’s Team USA Workout Video