…is Nike’s Phil Knight. The American squad for the Beijing Olympics was announced earlier today, and The Basketball Jones correctly points out said roster includes not one single player who isn’t a Nike endorsee, save for Dwight Howard.
That’s not to say there aren’t extenuating circumstances behind some of the other sneaker companies’ omissions. Paul Pierce needs the summer off to repair that right knee that kept him from accomplishing anything during the NBA Finals. Kevin Garnett and Allen Iverson have already done their Olympic duty. And why should Team USA bring more than one center to China?
The Washington Post’s Michael Lee, however, is a suspicious sort, and suggests the current roster lends creedence to Gilbert Arenas’ earlier claims that Nike wields undue influence over the squad’s composition.
All the talk about having a national program of 33 players and forcing them to make a three-year commitment to the program, participate in summer workouts, then tryout for the team in an intense training camp process seems laughable now.
How do you explain Carlos Boozer’s addition to the team, when he didn’t play on the world championship team in Japan in 2006 or the representative at the FIBA Americas Tournament in 2007.In his news conference on Monday, Colangelo used the word “equity” to say explain why Finals MVP Paul Pierce of the Boston Celtics wasn’t added to the team, saying that you have to invest something into the program to have a chance at making it.
The only choice that I question some is Tayshaun Prince over Tyson Chandler. I love Prince, but the team is really deficient in the height department. Dwight Howard is the only center – and the team only has two players taller than 6-feet-10 with the 7-foot Howard and the 6-11 Chris Bosh. It might not seem like such a big deal now, but it might if Howard somehow picks up foul trouble.
Nobody thought it was a big deal when Tim Duncan was the only center on the 2004 team in Athens – then Duncan got in foul trouble in almost every game. The trapezoid lane makes post play pretty difficult, but you need shotblocking and rebounding – two things Chandler can most certainly provide. And when Greece upset the squad in Japan, they abused them inside with “Baby Shaq” and controlled the boards. Small ball could hurt them in the long run.
If Chandler’s still a Nike endorsee, there’s not necessarily a conspiracy behind his staying home this summer. Adidas’ Mike Miller, however, is another matter. Either Jerry Colangelo disappoves of the ponytail or Miller’s shoe affiliation is to blame. Or perhaps they’ve seen him play.