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Winderman: It's okay not to get excited about the World Championships

Aug 25, 2010, 4:41 PM EDT

Thumbnail image for usa_durant_rose_iguodala.jpgAs the telltale economic numbers will eventually show, productivity was down across America on Wednesday afternoon. Such is the result of a nation shutting down to catch the riveting drama that is U.S.-Greece international basketball.

Or not.

Somehow, we’re having a hard time getting caught up in World Championships fever.

So, for that matter, apparently is the Worldwide Leader, which will broadcast Saturday’s U.S. opener in Turkey on ESPN Classic just after women’s tennis from 1984 and just before college football from 2005. Apparently, filler was needed without another timeless episode of Stump the Schwab being available.

Look, I, like just about anyone else who stops by this space, could and would watch basketball 24/7/365.

But based on the roster the NBA (known as USA Basketball this time of year) has put together, exactly what type of World Championship is this?

The World Championship of Guys Who Mostly Never Will Be All-Stars?

Is it so wrong to admit that for this country the Olympics are everything?

Can an event have any significance if the last time your country won gold it had Derrick Coleman on its roster?

Considering we still have two more weeks of exhibition football, there is something to be said about sporting sustenance.

But also appreciate that unless the United States wins the gold medal, the event will provide no tangible benefit to what matters most for USA Basketball (otherwise known as the NBA the rest of the year) when it comes to the ultimate goal, gold at the 2012 London Games.

Only the World Championships champion receives an automatic Olympic berth. For everyone else, it’s back to regional qualifying in 2011, which, for the U.S., would mean next summer’s Tournament of the Americas in Argentina.

Consider also that there are four knockout rounds in Turkey, plenty of chances for that one slip-up.

As for “development” and “cohesion” and “camaraderie” and all those other Colangelo-Krzyzewski buzzwords we’ve been hearing this past month, how many members of this current roster truly are expected to be with the U.S. in London in 2012, when space will be cleared for Dwyane and Dwight, Kobe and Carmelo, among others?

How exactly is Derrick Rose running the floor with Kevin Love going to enhance his alley-oops to LeBron James?

Wednesday, America forced itself back to work after the artistry that was U.S. vs. Greece.

Saturday, just after Martina faces Chrissie on ESPN Classic (no spoiler alert necessary, we won’t give away the result), and just before a five-year old Wolverines-Cornhuskers game is shown, the United States will participate in something that is being portrayed as part of its road to the Olympics.

But it’s not.

It’s just exhibition basketball.

Ira Winderman writes regularly for and covers the Heat and the NBA for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

  1. - Aug 25, 2010 at 5:03 PM

    Ira Winderman is an IDIOT and as ARROGANT as Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh. Anytime you represent your county it matters. So, Ira Winderman and Kurt Helin…GET A FRIGGIN CLUE!!!

  2. Zachariah Blott - Aug 25, 2010 at 5:04 PM

    Here’s how the did in the scrimmages and what they need to improve by this weekend.

  3. Zachariah Blott - Aug 25, 2010 at 5:06 PM

    Here’s a review of how they’ve done and what it tells us about the future.

  4. Jacob - Aug 25, 2010 at 5:22 PM

    I’ve watched every USA game, and the practices that were on TV. So what if it isn’t the re-deem team? Still great NBA players representing the USA.
    It’s basketball in August and September people, quit hatin.

  5. LogicMan - Aug 25, 2010 at 6:04 PM

    Watching any type of BBall is usually vastly more enjoyable than the rest of the crap out there.

  6. Ted - Aug 25, 2010 at 6:05 PM

    Wow this was one of the most ignorant and (as CTW724 said) arrogant posts on this blog yet. There is usually one post per day on here that I read and wonder what dimension the author is in, but this one takes the cake. If you don’t want to watch, Ira, you don’t have to. If star appeal is the only thing that keeps you interested in the NBA, then go ahead and watch each Heat game this year.
    This year’s Team USA is differnt, yes. It is an opportunity for young players (6 of which are already/have been all-stars, as opposed to the “most of which never will be all-star” roster you so incorrectly referred to) to play on a stage they otherwise may not have and prove themselves. It is an opportunity to see the world through a lens of basketball, all the while improving their aptitude for the game. In a summer of bogus Lebron/Bosh/Carmello hearsay “unnamed source” news reports and articles by you, Ira, and your journalistically inept buddies, watching Russell Westbrook play his way onto the roster and earn his minutes this summer has been more than a breath of fresh air. Watching Durant rise up and swat Spain’s potential gamewinner into the cheapseats to save the win was epic (albeit an exhibition game). For me, a lifelong NBA fan, watching the new crop/GEN Y team compete internationally is awesome.
    I am also not sure how you are describing the ESPN broadcast as filler, since it is being aired LIVE. I will not be suprised to see 3-5 of these guys on the 2012 roster. I will not be suprised to see Durant and Rose play a lot of minutes for the 2012 team.
    This arcticle was absolutely shameful

  7. john - Aug 26, 2010 at 9:59 AM

    You answered your own question, it’s just a exhibition.

  8. MobTown - Aug 26, 2010 at 11:45 AM

    Why do you continue to write?
    It’s not your brand of basketball, we get it.
    You loved the decision, you love All-Stars, you can’t get up for a game of basketball unless Lebron, Wade or Kobe play.
    Great, so basically we have a NBA beat writer who doesn’t like the game of basketball, except for the dramatic story lines.

  9. BMatt - Aug 26, 2010 at 2:59 PM

    I would have to agree with the majority consensus here. This was a really bad article.
    With the summer of ‘ME, ME, OHOH ME!” over with, it’s nice to watch these younger players from the league go out and play. They are doing the more selfless thing by playing for their country when people don’t think it matters.
    Rose and Durant were All-Stars in 2010. Danny Granger in 2009. Billups has been an All-Star Regular since 2006. Lamar Odom has won two NBA championships playing a very significant role in both.
    Everyone else on the team is a star in the NBA on their teams.
    Whoever wrote this, you fail. You fail hard.

  10. Isaac - Aug 28, 2010 at 3:38 AM

    What a terrible article. Do you even like basketball? This team features arguably one of the best players in the game in Durant. It features one of the best young point guards in the league in Rose. Both of whom have been All-Stars. It features two other former All-Stars in Granger and Billups and young, young group of players most of whom are still playing on their Rookie contracts. This isn’t the Miami heat or Kobe Bryant. This is real earnest basketball, the kind of basketball most NBA fans see and love because it features local stars, teamwork and statistical sacrifice in order to win a team game. And this tournament is deemed far more important than the Olympics in the international community of basketball. Also, the last time we won featured quite an awesome display of NBA All-Stars one of whom was Coleman, who may never have fulfilled his potential but ask any GM or ex-player around during that time, was unbelievable talent and one of the top 20 or so power forwards of all time. I don’t know why I continue to read sports. You are all part time writers, and full-time fools. Please stop covering basketball and sports. There is a reason you are getting destroyed by ESPN. They offer real insight with real analytical coverage of their sport. You have offered the opinion of a 10 year old fan from Charlotte wearing a Kobe jersey who watches NBA Inside stuff for basketball information.

  11. gary vann - Aug 28, 2010 at 8:47 PM

    Low grade article, lacking in preparation and conceptual thinking. It is refreshing to watch really great young NBA players perform on a different stage. I want to see more international competition. Bring it on.

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