Monday, July 14, 2008
Screw the pessimism: Canada Basketball to Beijing. Book it.
The Star’s Doug Smith and the Globe’s Michael Grange both have pretty nice little previews of the last chance Olympic men’s basketball tournament up today. Smith’s even asked Jose Calderon what he thinks!
(Too bad there isn’t a dateline on either, but I suppose the Star's sports travel budget is a little tight right now —- we wouldn’t want Dave Perkins to miss the British Open after all. The Globe’s rollin’ in it, so I’m not sure what its excuse is).
Despite typical Canuck pessimism, the boys in red have a decent chance to succeed in Greece. It won’t be easy, but Canada is the fifth ranked team in the draw. If it can win a quarterfinal match-up against either (likely) Puerto Rico or Croatia they will have two shots at making the Games.
Regardless, it’s an accomplishment that Canada is at this tournament. Increasingly, basketball is becoming the second world’s game. Qualifying for an Olympic Games as nearly as difficult as qualifying for a World Cup. This certainly a more important sporting story than, say, more speculation about Mats Sundin.
Of course the baby boomer run, Bobby Orr lovin' Canadian sports media isn’t all that keen on this bouncy ball thing yet. It’s likely a fad.
Update: Korea made them sweat a bit, but Slovenia did what it was supposed to do in the opening match-up in Canada's group today.
Canada big man Joel Anthony of the NBA's Miami Heat also got interviewed by FIBA.com: