On Wednesday, September 4 for the first time since using NBA players in world tournaments the United States Men’s basketball team has lost a game. They lost to Argentina 87-80.

Argentina dominated a U.S. team that looked lethargic at best. Argentina never trailed in the game, jumping out to an early lead. Argentina’s biggest lead was 20. The Americans were able to cut the halftime lead of 16 to 8 by the start of the fourth quarter. However the Americans were unable to pull off the comeback as Argentina withstood the American’s push. The American team lost again to Yugoslavia and Spain. The Americans ended up finishing sixth in the World Basketball Championship, the worst showing in an international competition ever by a Men’s U.S. basketball team.

So has the rest of the world finally caught the U.S. in basketball? While the talent overseas and in Latin America is better now than in past years, I still believe the U.S. is vastly superior in basketball. You have to remember that a lot of U.S. players have lost interest in playing in the World Basketball Championship and even the Olympics. This has happened because the players feel they have better things to do then play basketball.

Here are the starters for the U.S.’s team in the World Basketball Championship:

PG, Andre Miller, SG, Michael Finley, SF, Paul Pierce, PF, Elton Brand, and C, Jermaine O’Neal. Here is who in my opinion should be the U.S.’s starting five: PG, Jason Kidd, SG, Kobe Bryant, SF, Kevin Garnett, PF, Tim Duncan, and C, Shaquille O’Neal.

With that staring five and players like Pierce, Finley, Miller, Baron Davis, and a couple big impact players like Tracy McGrady, Allen Iverson and others coming off the bench, you can’t convince me that the U.S. would not have won the gold. I do believe that the rest of the world is getting better. However, if players like Bryant, McGrady, O’Neal, and Garnett start playing then the U.S. will be winning games again by 40 – 50 points.

I asked a few people around the school what they though of this situation and most people didn’t believe that the rest of the world was catching the US. Mr. Novak, a Humanities teacher, said “No (rest of the world isn’t catching the US), it is just an aberration, the U.S. only has one superstar on the team trying to carry the load (Pierce).” Mr. Littlefield a Physical Education teacher, said, ” If you choose the best five from each country, then play five on five, the US will win. However, little by little, the rest of the world is catching up.” I think Mr. Lundgren , a Humanities teacher, summed it up best by saying, “The American loss was a classic example of hubris.” Hubris, by the way, means excessive self-pride.

Another idea that has been thrown out is giving the game back to the college players. I also like this idea because the college kids are hungrier to show themselves on a national scale. The NBA players don’t view the games the same way they did back in 1992. The luster of the “Dream Team” has worn off. It is now time to change it. Get the right players playing or give the game back to the college players.

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