August 15, 2012

A Ryder Cup for basketball?

David Stern, commissioner of the NBA, is dissatisfied with Olympic basketball. Either the U.S. wins, which is pretty boring because it ought to win easily, or it loses. 

A reader comments:
By the way, given the closeness of the Spain / US basketball final, a match between an EU all star team (comprised of players from any of the EU countries) against the US team should be organized. There is a very good chance that predominantly white EU all star team would indeed spank the predominantly black US team.

The Ryder Cup in golf is organized that way, with twelve top U.S. players taking on twelve E.U. players every two years. Golf is an individual sport, and the chance to play as a team adds a lot of excitement. The U.S. team usually looks better on paper, but the E.U. is 8-4-1 going back through 1985. A lot of theories have been offered to explain this, such as that the Europeans play better as a team, but none seem conclusive.

Here's a proposal for Stern: A three game tournament of the stars of U.S. v. the stars of Europe (don't restrict it to the E.U., because unlike in golf, good European basketball players can be found in non-E.U. countries like Serbia). Hold it whenever it is in the interests of the NBA, such as a few weeks into training camp.

The first game in Barcelona (or other touristy, basketball-oriented European cities), the second in New York (or Chicago or L.A.), the third game, if necessary, in neutral court Shanghai. Ka-ching!


eah said...

should be organized

Why 'should it be organized'? What purpose would it serve? What would the outcome prove? Do you really think it would be all that entertaining? Do you really want to see yet again a bunch of over-tatooed Blacks -- most of whom look like ghetto wannabes (the ones who aren't ghetto to begin with) -- 'representing' the USA?

Feel free to regard the above questions as rhetorical. Because I think the point has been made.

George said...

The American stars have long dominated international competitions. This years Olympic final wasn't as close as it looked. The Americans could have stepped on it and ran away at just about any time of their choosing. Spain was punching above its weight. I have a different proposal (not going to happen because of financial considerations). Make the Olympic tournament like the soccer tourney. Have a limit to under 23 players with a couple of "stars". It would be as exiting and a lot more fair to a greater number of counties.

not a hacker said...

In case you hadn't noticed, in Ryder Cup there's no mechanism, and no audience hunger, for Lee Westwood to smack Steve Stricker in the back of the head if he makes a birdie. But if the Euros really try to compete under the boards, the Bros will start whomping them and a Chicago crowd will join in. You think foreign NBA players don't talk among themselves about how U.S. blacks hate whites? Hire Pashtun tribesmen as bodyguards, and they might get into it.

Steve Sailer said...

The 1999 Ryder Cup at The Country Club came fairly close by golf standards into turning into a brawl. It was much better TV than most golf tournaments.

Geoff Matthews said...

The point of this is to drum up interest in the game. But move the venue(s) around. Barcelona, Paris, London, Moscow, Berlin, etc., are obvious. But Lithuania, Serbia, Croatia, Netherlands, etc. should be hit on occasion.
Make the American venue in NY/Chicago.

I like the suggestion of a 23-and-under limit. That would make the games more competitive.

Clutch cargo cult said...

Why not USA vs the World!

Anonymous said...

A while back the NHL tried "World" vs. "North America" for the All-Star game. I don't know if they still do it, but it makes more sense than East vs. West.

Anonymous said...

If the event is to actually be good, it will have to be more than an exhibition. The players will have to be as serious about competing in it as they serious about the playoffs.

The first time an injury occurs which takes a player out of several NBA games and/or ruins his team's chance at a playoff spot, that'll be the end of it.

Golfer's rarely get hurt, and even when they do suffer a wrist or a back injury, their injury has no effect on anyone else.

DaveinHackensack said...

"The first time an injury occurs which takes a player out of several NBA games and/or ruins his team's chance at a playoff spot, that'll be the end of it."

Then do it at after the end of the league championship at the end of the season, the way the NFL used to schedule the Pro Bowl.

Somewhat related, Steve Nash, who lives in NYC during the NBA off-season, has started a tradition of an annual soccer match featuring NBA and MLS players.

Pat Boyle said...

I'm frankly surprised that anyone still cares about basketball. I haven't cared since Rick Barry retired. No one was a more fanatical fan than I was but when it hit a certain level of blackness, I just lost interest.

I went nuts over football and then baseball but basketball continued to seem a sport designed for people not like me. I had played in college for George Mason. True, I was the worst player on what was arguably the worst college basketball team of all time, but I was psychically connected to the game.

My favorite player was Wilt Chamberlain. I also admired Elgin Baylor. I liked black players. But when every player was black something clicked. The connection was broken. Basketball was thereafter a game for others.

When I watch football I always remember that afternoon when I sacked the quarterback. When I watch baseball I still remember the feel and the sound of connecting on "the sweet spot". But I stopped fantasizing about basketball. It became all too alien.

I'm sure David Stern worries about white guys losing interest in watching black guys.


Anonymous said...

Ha. David Stern and co. will not be advocating for an event featuring overt European solidarity against a team of Blacks any time soon.

---Scales Fall

Anonymous said...

Be careful of overrating Euro hoops. The bubble pretty much burst in 2003 when Darko Milicic was drafted over Carmelo, Bosh and Wade.

An all-Euro team would be competitive, but a spanking? At not a single position would they have a better player that the US and the bench would be relatively thin. There are some really good players like Dirk, Tony Park, Pau, but they don't compare to America's best. I could see that team winning 2 of 3, but the odds aren't in their favor.

And it would not be the race war some might think. In addition to Parker, Lou Deng and Joakim Noah would start or be in the rotation.

Anonymous said...

I love this idea. It's incredible. However you'd need to tighten up the player eligibility on the European side. Currently American players like Chris Kaman (great-grandparents from Germany) and Joakim Noah(father from France) In the Sailer tournament, anyone with a U.S. passport would be strictly prohibited from the Euro team.

Camlost said...

NBA rules and officiating or International rules and officiating?

There's a huge difference.

Anonymous said...

The NBA needs to switch to international rules. (40 min. games, 5 fouls etc.) NBA stars are optimized for a different game than the Olypmic / FIBA championship games. I think that explains in part the closeness of the last two Olypmic finals vs. Spain.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Rubio, Ibaka, and M. Gasol are going to be a formidable nucleus next time.

The 1992 Dream Team got beaten behind closed doors by American collegians led by Bobby Hurley, because there were some strategy advantages they had overlooked. Never mind that they adjusted and won the rematch hugely. You can only play five guys at a time, and a slightly less-good team can kill you any given night. Spain will be good, and if they find a seam to exploit will be quite capable of beating the Americans at least once.

Which is all it takes.

Anonymous said...

The Nike Hoop Summit is an annual all-star game in Portland at the high school level between a US select team and a world select team. There is no fan interest whatsoever outside of scouting circles. The US is 10-5, so it's modestly competitive. However, players on both sides are mainly there to impress scouts (Dirk's huge performance was what got him on NBA radar before he became a high draft pick) so the play is individualistic rather than a competitive team game.