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Hubris makes this Team USA unlikeable

Nick Sannicandro July 17, 2012 Around the NBA 27 Comments

This may ruffle a few feathers, many will call me un-American or some other crazy name, but I have grown to dislike this years version of Team USA.

Why you ask?

Hubris.

Hubris is defined as an overbearing pride or presumption; arrogance. Let’s be honest, that pretty much defines 80% of this Team USA roster. Lebron James, Carmelo Anthony, Kobe Bryant, Blake Griffin (he was a part of the original roster before injury), and Chris Paul are all among the most arrogant individuals in the sport of basketball. In their own mind, they walk on water and it is that attitude that has turned so many basketball fans off from these players.

We saw this hubris come out before a single game was even played when Kobe Bryant decided to proclaim the 2012 Team USA “better” than the 1992 Dream Team. I can’t think of a single reason why this even matters to any of these players, their only goal should be to take home a gold medal; but with all the attention going on the 1992 Dream Team thanks to recent documentaries and book releases, one has to imagine that it was uncomfortable for these ego-maniacs to have the attention on someone else. It is beyond insulting to the members of the 1992 team to be compared to a roster that hasn’t even won a single game yet outside of exhibitions.

Think of every video you have seen from the 2012 team “practicing”. What are they doing? All I’ve seen is Blake Griffin throwing down stupid dunks, half-court shots, and alley-oop practice. Where is the intensity? Where is the drive to make everyone on the team better? Will we ever hear of a legendary inter-squad scrimmage as we did with the 1992 team or will they be too busy perfecting their alley-oop because we all know that is what makes SportsCenter, not defense, rebounding and hard work.

It would be one thing if we saw zero effort practices but perfection when it counts, but the teams most recent exhibition against Brazil proves that these guys are indifferent. A team with three former NBA scoring leaders, multiple MVP’s, dozens of All-NBA first team members, and the NBA’s three best players should not have to win in a squeaker over a team lead by Anderson Varejao….really. My gut tells me that if Team USA goes home without a medal, they will still go on with their lives with little impact on their emotional state. It won’t bother them for weeks on end, they won’t simmer for the next four years for a chance at redemption, and they will likely go out clubbing in London after the loss that eliminates them.

Do the leaders on this team truly understand the importance of winning an Olympic Gold or just BEING at the Olympics? Think of the swimmers, fencers, runners, and gymnasts that have trained all their lives for this one moment, they have dreamed about it and worked harder than everyone around them and it is highly unlikely that they would let the opportunity slip by practicing care-free with only days before the Opening Ceremony. But with a team built around multi-million or billionaires that have had everything handed to them throughout their lives and basketball careers, what do they care? Do they think they have some special pass that the swimmers or gymnasts don’t? They are overconfident in themselves and arrogant; the very definition of hubris and it is that which makes them unlikable, and hard to root for. It was never this way in the days of Russell in ’57. Maybe it is indeed time to go back to college kids, kids who will truly appreciate the opportunity and work hard at representing their country like every other Olympic athlete…. I may not root against a team representing my country  but I certainly won’t be rooting for the 2012 Team USA Men’s Basketball squad.

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  • Sammy46

    I totally agree with you. Not mention no team should be compared to let alone declared better than the Dream Team.

  • http://thegreatoutthere.blogspot.com Matt W

    I don’t think Blake Griffin deserves to be in the same ego category as some of the others, but I agree with the general thrust of this piece.

    And that any team in any sport will ever even touch the Dream Team is laughable. DAVID ROBINSON WAS THE BENCH CENTER! David Robinson would clean the floor with Chandler, Griffin, or Love.

    • kg215

      Probably 90% of the roster would wipe the floor with this 2012 team. Ewing and Laettner are the only ones that would have trouble, and maybe not even Ewing.

      • Chuck

        Ewing the weak link – are you nuts? I hated the Knicks but Ewing was damn good. Better than Robinson, in my book.

  • Bailey

    U hit the nail on the head boss

  • KWAPT

    Good stuff Nick. Team Hubris it is.

  • Cs

    C’mon now, is this article serious? I’m shocked that the clips we’ve seen on Sportscenter weren’t of the team working on their help defense and that’s obviously the players fault. Any who watched the team practice on NBATV know these guys are working their tail off. The team is built around their defense and even full court pressing, something that most guys don’t want to do even when they’re getting paid, much less during their offseason. As for their egos, how are they any different from the Dream Team? Jordan played golf EVERYDAY during the Olympics, were you complaining that his hubris made him unlikeable? You don’t like Lebron/Kobe/Melo because of the Celtics and that’s fine (I don’t either) but let’s not be ridiculous here.

    • kg215

      It’s not the same, the dream team contains so many hall of famers. Right now the only guaranteed ones are Lebron and Kobe. Pretty sure Durant will be there at the end, who else? CP3/Deron/Westbrook/Kevin Love/etc. are good but not superstars. They may get superstar money but are just good all stars IMO.

      • Cs

        In 1992, how many on the Dream Team were Hall of Famers if they retired right then? Only Bird, Magic and Jordan. You’re holding the players today to a different standard.

  • mike

    this USA team is talented, but don’t have the competitiveness that the Dream Team had. In practice, the dream team battled against eachother to prove who was better. The 2012 team is to buddy-buddy with eachother, and all they care about is lookin good. It gets annoying. I definately have alot more respect for past players than current players!

  • Keith

    I am so glad I am not the only one that feels this way.I was feeling bad that I was almost rooting for brazil every time they got close. It seems that we have inherited a bunch of shoot happy brats. I am almost ashamed that they represent us. I would almost prefer we go back to using amateurs and college kids who truly appreciate what it means to play for the red white and blue. Some thought that they should get paid. How arrogant!

  • Chris

    The dream team certainly had some arrogant players, but when they were on the court they were a team. They also had a way of blowing teams out without arrogant or selfish plays which is why they were so respected by their opponents. The 2012 edition features a bunch of guys who have egos that inflate on the court. They’re out there playing hero ball because they can get away with it. I’m no LeBron fan, but he’s the only one concerned with filling the stat sheet rather than just the scoring column.

  • Quest

    Thx..Like the article ….hubris and promotional branding the new focus….what can I also get out of it for “me”. Should be Gold for country first self second…

  • Lakerhater

    And this is why I’m rooting for Ireland this year.

  • Nick Sannicandro

    When I wrote this article, I was expecting the worst out of comments, pleasantly surprised to see that there are other fans out there that are sick of the “Me ” generation of the NBA

    In terms of the comment that Blake shouldn’t be bundled in this group… yes he should, I can sniff out an ego maniac from a mile away and he is budding quickly into one. During this season now that he was a “big deal” he had a very prima-donnaish attitude whenever calls didn’t go his way, he is focused more on his dunks in practice than improving his post game, defense, rebouding, shot blocking which he needs vast improvement on. He is a very good dunker and thats about it at this point, but in his own mind (and that of ESPN) he is a superstar…hubris indeed.

    I should clarify though , there are a few guys on this team that are NOT of this mold. Kevin Durant, Deron Williams, Kevin Love, Iguodala, and Harden are not…. I have a gut feeling Anthony Davis is going to be one as he grows in the NBA. Read an interview in S.I. with him where he was pretty cocky when asked about how he will handle Kobe and other stars, no humility anymore in the NBA, a major turnoff for fans

    • kg215

      Only Durant is good enough to have a huge ego in that group, luckily he doesn’t.

  • Kevin

    Phenomenal article!! I couldn’t agree more!. I was thinking the same thing yesterday when Varejao, Splitter, Nene and the rest of the Brazilian crew were going hard after every loose ball, and actually running their offense while Team USA was throwing up ill advised threes and simply, as Doc would say, playing Hero Ball.

  • RRMVP

    Let’s Go USA! You write this now but no way come July 29 your not loving USA Basketball. Sucks there is no celtics But I have to say glad RR isn’t with this group deffinitly spot on with 2/3 of the team all about “me”. But when the games are played the freedom lovin American in you will have to be rooting for this team. $&@K the world we invented the shit USA USA USA

    • Rich

      James Naismith was Canadian.

  • Cal

    I always thought there should be more than one team for America and they should play a tournament to see which one represents us in the olympics.

    • kg215

      That would be fun, with a real NBA head coach too not Coach K (no offense to people who like him/Duke I just don’t think college coaches are as good as the solid-best pro coaches, even HOF college coaches).

  • Noori

    When watching on tv I caught myself rooting for Brazil, then I was like…wait why? You nailed it on the head

  • Cs

    I hope people in here complaining about stars being confident fans aren’t fans of Larry Bird (Or Pierce, or Jordan, Or Magic etc.). I would have loved to have seen the blog post in 1986 saying “I just can’t root for Bird in the 3 point contest. His hubris in saying “Which one of you is going to get 2nd place?” just makes him so unlikeable.” Or in 1980 “Who does Magic think he is saying “Have no fear E.J. is here!” before Game 6 of the finals. He thinks he can replace Kareem! He’s only a rookie!”. Or 1992 when all Barklet knew about the Angolan team was that “they’re in trouble!” My god, the egos! Great players have always had egos, that’s part of what makes them great, let’s not hold the current generation to a different (ridiculous) standard.

  • Reggie35RIP

    Agree with everything except for CP3 being arrogant. I remember some footage from last Olympics where Wade and Melo were mouthing off after they won gold and CP3 looked pretty disgusted and embarrassed.

    Also reckon you’re spot on with going back to college players. They’ll be hungry to win and, as you say, would appreciate and relish the opportunity to represent their country. All the NBA players do is treat it like another Allstar game. Meh.

  • Nick Sannicandro

    Cs the difference is they were actual competitors, they hated their opponent, they wanted to win at all costs yet believed in themselves. Theres nothign wrong with being cocky if you give it your all 100% of the time, but this crop they don’t take practices seriously, and lack the intensity that the players in the 80s did, its pretty clear this group doesnt care as much as the guys of the 80s

    as far as CP3 not being arrogant, lets remember just under a year ago when CP3 was dictating where he would and wouldnt get traded to despite the fact that he didnt have a NTC the Hornets had much better offers from other teams but because CP3 was stomping his feet around and openly saying he would refuse to resign with that team he hurt the Hornets significantly , if I lived in NO I’d hate the guy for that alone.

  • SteveB

    I was glad to find this article because it explains why I’ve had no interest in watching this team. The comparison to 1992, PLEASE STOP. I imagine Melo out there giving 75% effort in important games. I’ve enjoyed watching Celtics summer league games more. At least those players are giving 100%.

  • keith

    So happy to see many others feel thesame Its strange to root against Usa but Brazil played better teambasketball and that’s what kept it relatively close …this Usa teamdoes nothing for me ..they arecocky and itbothers me thattheyseemto get calls they don’t deserve on offense and mug guyswhen they play d and get away with it. I hope the Olympics reffing is fair nothing would make me happier than Spain or Argentina winning the gold