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Old 08-29-2006, 12:02 PM   #1
tontoz
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Default Lebron/Wade setting unselfish tone for US

Unselfish Team USA follows LeBron's lead
By Brian Windhorst

Dusan Vranic/Associated Press
LeBron James of Team USA goes for a shot during a victory Sunday at the FIBA World championship, where the Americans are trying to rebuild their image.
More photosSAITAMA, JAPAN - The expansive train platform nestled alongside the Saitama Super Arena on the northern outskirts of sprawling Tokyo is truly the gateway to the FIBA World Championship.

The vast majority of the spectators arrive via train, and they are greeted with a wave of advertisements.

The most unavoidable is a giant sticker affixed to the floor just past the turnstiles that thousands of feet and eyeballs must cross every day of the mega-tournament.

It is a Nike ad, splayed with the innocuous question: ``LeBron or Kobe?''

It is part of a promotion the shoe giant is running that offers fans a free gift tied to one of the players and is aimed at drawing visitors to the company's Japanese basketball Web site. But, to a more trained Team USA follower, it also might be a basketball metaphor.

Kobe Bryant isn't in Japan with his fellow national team members. Knee surgery last month knocked him out, and he has been recovering and doing charitable work this summer in Los Angeles, though Nike will bring him to Asia soon for promotional work.

With the Americans butchering opponents and rebranding the tarnished image of USA Basketball, is it possible Kobe's absence advanced the team's cause?

The ownership of this edition of the Dream Team quickly ended up in the hands of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Carmelo Anthony. The overall attitude is really a product of James and Wade, who have founded an unselfish style that is shocking the international basketball world that long ago tagged American stars as snobbish and self-centered.

It was Wade, owner of an NBA Finals Most Valuable Player trophy and a forthcoming ring, who openly volunteered to come off the bench. It is a move that has proved to be brilliant; his entrance when the opposition is huffing and puffing almost always leads to a swing in the score.

The most recent example came Sunday against Australia. Wade ripped off the warm-ups with the score 12-12 and returned to the bench with the Americans up by 20.

Then there is James, whose willingness to share the ball is converting many new fans. He took a mere five shots in the win over Australia and repeatedly set up his teammates when he could have attempted a driving layup he surely would have finished -- or at least drawn a foul.

Amazingly, it has rubbed off. U.S. players are falling over themselves to share the glory as the ``Ugly American'' label starts to fray at the edges.

TNT analyst Steve Kerr wrote this in a column on Yahoo Sports: ``In many ways, James' play in this tournament epitomizes what looks like a revitalization of American basketball. He is helping establish an egoless chemistry.''

Others are expressing similar views.

``I'm surprised at how unselfishly they play,'' Australian guard C.J. Bruton said. ``Everyone likes to get their shots off; these guys get 17-20 shots a game in the NBA. This group takes the shots when they're open and shares the ball. In that way, you could compare them to Dream Team I and II.''

There is no doubt Bryant is one of the best players in the world. He owns three NBA titles and is coming off one of the most prolific scoring seasons in league history. His ability is unquestioned.

Were Bryant on Team USA, however, he probably would have been named a captain, if not the only captain, as one of the oldest and most experienced players. The team wouldn't necessarily have belonged to the three guns from the class of 2003, and the theme, as Bryant's game often suggests, might not have been to share before all else.

``It starts with me. Being the captain, if I'm out there passing up shots to get a better shot, it kind of rubs off on your teammates, and you can see that,'' James said. ``I'm not sure how having Kobe would've worked out. Kobe would've been a big part of our team.''

Kobe's role probably would have been what he does best: score. Wade and James are doing what they do best: lead unselfishly.

The Los Angeles Lakers and coach Phil Jackson tried to make Bryant a cog rather than the centerpiece in the playoffs against the Phoenix Suns. It almost worked, but the plan -- and Kobe -- fizzled in the end.

If Team USA steamrolls to a gold medal, how could the plan for the Olympics in Beijing in 2008 possibly differ from the strategy to allow Wade and James to wear the ``C'' and let them dictate play?

``Right now, we're the leaders,'' James said. ``And my teammates have done a great job following so far.''


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Old 08-29-2006, 12:12 PM   #2
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I think this team will be even stronger with a player like Kobe. And I'm not saying that just cause he is my favorite player. If you have been watching the games, and don't just sip the koolaide of the 40 point blow out of Australia, the team has been in some difficult situations. And it is visibly obvious that at times they lack experienced direction on the court. While I love the 3, '03 guns running the show, and learning on the fly... it does allow for dangerous situations. Seeing as how those are the best, and most experienced guys on the team? Yikes. I'm not even saying you got to have Kobe, but you have to have a veteran leader in there. At least somewhat of a long time battle tested leader, who gives strength through all moments. There is no way I believe, that even at all times the '03 class doesn't get rattled or down on themselves. You need Kobe in there. Kobe can spread the ball. Just like he does in the ASG. But the thing with Kobe is, he can completely bail you out if needed. Let the kids play, and he'll facilitate it, but the second things go wrong and they get really down on themselves... (think Melo's performance against Italy, with an even bigger BOOM) Kobe can bring them back, on call. We'll see what happens in '08. Kobe doesn't have to be a "captain" to be a captain.
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Old 08-29-2006, 01:53 PM   #3
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First of all, if the US wins the title, I don't see how you can demote any of the top three players from captain. So that begs the question of how Kobe would take it if he wasn't named captain. Then you have the question of just how much Bryant would be willing to defer. Those are big questions. Will he want to come in and be THE MAN on the team, or just another contributor?

If it's the latter, then of course he's a valuable addition to the team. If it's the former, could be asking for trouble.
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Old 08-29-2006, 01:58 PM   #4
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the US team was never selfish. these guys need to give it up. so eery team that loses is selfish.

these guys dont have anything original to write
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Old 08-29-2006, 02:27 PM   #5
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kobe always passes and plays unselfishly when surrounded by other stars. i think he'll fit right in, captain or not. like mamba said, he doesnt have to be named captain to be "captian".

i hope this aritcle isnt a jinx cuz everytime an article of praise comes up, everything pretty much goes downhill.
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Old 08-29-2006, 02:53 PM   #6
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Question is do we really need Kobe? we don't KNOW how he would play and considering we've won by like 20 every game and we'll be getting Billups, Amare and Redd in the Olympics plus all the kids will have 2 more yrs experience. Do we really need to take a chance that Kobe will fit in?
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Old 08-29-2006, 03:13 PM   #7
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Quote:
``It starts with me. Being the captain, if I'm out there passing up shots to get a better shot, it kind of rubs off on your teammates, and you can see that,'' James said. ``I'm not sure how having Kobe would've worked out. Kobe would've been a big part of our team.''







anyway, having Kobe is only a +



similar to what they do with wade right now, bringing him off the bench when the other team is huffin and puffing, you could bring in Kobe off the bench and make him the focal point during that stretch and have him DOMINATE.


but Kobe needs to be utilized properly.





anyway. what would happen if Kobe scored 81+ in a FIBA game?
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Old 08-29-2006, 03:23 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by geeWiz15
Question is do we really need Kobe? we don't KNOW how he would play and considering we've won by like 20 every game and we'll be getting Billups, Amare and Redd in the Olympics plus all the kids will have 2 more yrs experience. Do we really need to take a chance that Kobe will fit in?

I agree with that. I think an experienced bigman might be more valuable than Kobe. As much as I love the guy, there is a chance that he wouldn't fit in, and that he would want to be THE guy. I don't think it would happen, but it would be possible. It would also clog up the SG position even more, although Kobe would bring some nice 3-point shooting and a great mid-range game to the team.

But I think a more experience bigman, with a nice touch, like KG, would have been a pretty good addition. That's my opinion, and it might not be valid because I haven't seen any of the games. But from what I've heard, the USA bigmen (Bosh) are getting pushed around a little bit.

And just out of curiosity, why didn't Kobe end up playing for the team. Was it because of the surgury, or did he just pull himself out, or what?
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Old 08-29-2006, 03:26 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RidonKs
I agree with that. I think an experienced bigman might be more valuable than Kobe. As much as I love the guy, there is a chance that he wouldn't fit in, and that he would want to be THE guy. I don't think it would happen, but it would be possible. It would also clog up the SG position even more, although Kobe would bring some nice 3-point shooting and a great mid-range game to the team.

But I think a more experience bigman, with a nice touch, like KG, would have been a pretty good addition. That's my opinion, and it might not be valid because I haven't seen any of the games. But from what I've heard, the USA bigmen (Bosh) are getting pushed around a little bit.

And just out of curiosity, why didn't Kobe end up playing for the team. Was it because of the surgury, or did he just pull himself out, or what?

his knee surgery.
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Old 08-29-2006, 03:39 PM   #10
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i dont think Kobe is a crazy egomaniac... he just looks like one because he wants to be the Master of Lakerland more than anything.



but if you see him in All Star GAmes, he is usually a sharer of the ball tossing alley oops and feeding passes. he only seems to score when the play runs to him or he is on a breakaway.


so yes for a few games when he is NOT on the Lakers, i think Kobe can fit into a system.
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Old 08-29-2006, 03:40 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by VCDrivesAPorscheToWork

similar to what they do with wade right now, bringing him off the bench when the other team is huffin and puffing, you could bring in Kobe off the bench and make him the focal point during that stretch and have him DOMINATE.
Imagine both Kobe and Wade coming off the bench as a "2nd unit." That would be scary.

Ofcourse, it would depend on Kobe going along with coming off the bench. But i'm sure he would be up for it.

Last edited by SIRI1 : 08-29-2006 at 03:58 PM.
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Old 08-29-2006, 03:51 PM   #12
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Somebody should change the topic's name to something like "If the USA wins the world championship do they need Kobe on the team?"
I think it's an interesting question and the current topic's name doesn't really reflect what's been talk about.
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Old 08-29-2006, 03:53 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by chains5000
Somebody should change the topic's name to something like "If the USA wins the world championship do they need Kobe on the team?"
I think it's an interesting question and the current topic's name doesn't really reflect what's been talk about.

well there's others who couldn't make the roster due to personal issues and injury.

are we going to talk about those players as well because the way this supposed to work, all these players are going to get a chance to play on TEAM USA. as far as how it pans out for bejing is how EVERYONE does so they can finalize that squad.
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Old 08-29-2006, 03:57 PM   #14
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"I think it's an interesting question and the current topic's name doesn't really reflect what's been talk about."

All I did was post the article. My headline mirrored the headline of the article, which talks about the unselfishness of the current team.
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Old 08-29-2006, 04:03 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tontoz
"I think it's an interesting question and the current topic's name doesn't really reflect what's been talk about."

All I did was post the article. My headline mirrored the headline of the article, which talks about the unselfishness of the current team.
I know, it's just that i found that interesting but didn't want to start a new thread.
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