Basketball, especially the NBA variety, is truly a night thing; like comedy. So to see the Chicago Bulls playing a live game versus the Memphis Grizzlies at noon on a Monday is pretty cool. It’s the Martin Luther King Jr. Day matinee in Memphis, the Civil Rights game. The city is sullen today as it’s where MLK was slain in the 1960s. Today, the site of the assassination, the Lorraine Hotel, is a tribute to his legacy- a civil rights museum.
As I type this, the Bulls are down 39-29 with a 6 and a half left in the first half. But there’s other NBA related news today.
Bulls guard Derrick Rose (who’s sitting this one out with a turf toe injury) has been named one of the 20 finalists for the 2012 U.S. Olympic Men’s team. Rose was a member of the 2010 USA World Championship team that claimed the gold medal in Istanbul, Turkey. As the starting point guard for the 2010 U.S. squad, Rose averaged 7.2 ppg, 3.2 apg, and 2.1 rpg in 23.1 mpg.
For our famous “Dream Team vs. Redeem Team” essay
The finalists for London 2012 consists of eight 2008 Olympic gold medalists, 10 members of the 2010 USA World Championship gold medal winning team, one national team player and one newcomer to the USA Basketball National Team. All the finalists were named a couple hours ago by USA Basketball chairman and Chicago native Jerry Colangelo. The official 12-man U.S. Olympic team roster will be announced later this year.
Joining Rose as finalists:
LaMarcus Aldridge (Portland Trail Blazers); Carmelo Anthony (New York Knicks); Chauncey Billups (Los Angeles Clippers); Chris Bosh (Miami Heat); Kobe Bryant (Los Angeles Lakers); Tyson Chandler (New York Knicks); Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City Thunder); Rudy Gay (Memphis Grizzlies); Eric Gordon (New Orleans Hornets); Blake Griffin (Los Angeles Clippers); Dwight Howard (Orlando Magic); Andre Iguodala (Philadelphia 76ers); LeBron James (Miami Heat); Kevin Love (Minnesota Timberwolves); Lamar Odom (Dallas Mavericks); Chris Paul (Los Angeles Clippers); Dwyane Wade (Miami Heat); Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City Thunder); and Deron Williams (New Jersey Nets).
The 2012 USA coaching staff is led by Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski (another Chicago area native), and serving as USA assistant coaches are Syracuse University’s embattled Jim Boeheim, New York Knicks head coach Mike D’Antoni, and Portland Trail Blazers head coach Nate McMillan.
Here’s the Coach K. official statement from the press release. As you read it, imagine hearing it said in my Krzyzewski impersonation voice; which is coincidentally my Squidward from Spongebob SquarePants voice. “I’m not just a basketball coach, I’m a leader who happens to coach basketball.”
“I feel like we have an outstanding blend of talents from the 2008 Olympic and 2010 World Championship teams that won gold. Reducing to the official roster limit of 12 players will be an even tougher decision, but we’ll evaluate how guys play during the 2011-12 NBA season and as we’ve done with our teams in the past, we’ll attempt to select the very best team we can.”
“Jerry has built an extremely deep and talented USA National Team roster of 35 players and I want to thank each player for their incredible commitment to being part of USA Basketball. Reducing to 20 players was unbelievably difficult,” stated Krzyzewski, who has coached USA National Teams to a sterling 48-1 record since 2006.
“Aside from the obvious special basketball talents that all of these players possess, what struck me most about the finalists was their commitment to USA Basketball and the international basketball experience they have compiled. Among our 20 finalists, we have two players who possess 55 or more games of international experience, two with 40 or more international games under their belts and eight others who have played between 23 and 38 international games – that’s a lot of experience, which is going to be extremely valuable.
“These players have helped restore the winning tradition of USA Basketball while also gaining the respect of people around the world for the manner in which they have done it,” added Krzyzewski.
Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net, an official Google News site generating millions of unique visitors. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Walter Football.com, Yardbarker, and Fox Sports
A Fulbright scholar and MBA, Banks has appeared on live radio all over the world; and he’s a member of the Football Writers Association of America, U.S. Basketball Writers Association, and Society of Professional Journalists. The President of the United States follows him on Twitter (@Paul_M_BanksTSB) You should too