I want to obliterate Argentina.
I'm not talking the usual Team USA 25 point win. I want it as high as it possibly can be. I want to open with a 19-2 run, and then follow it with a 10-0 run before putting in Boozer, Kidd, Redd, Howard, and Carmelo to let them catch up. And then follow that with another 15-3 run. I want it painfully obvious. I want it to be a black mark on Argentina's history of basketball. I want Argentinian parents to tell their Argentinian children about it to scare them into staying in their beds at night. I want there to be books written about it. Volumes. I want it to have its own epic poem that forces teenagers to cram all night for an essay exam on it.
I hate this team, and I hate them even more for making me care enough to hate them.
See, I don't really care about the Olympics. It's just never been something that's captivated me. I've been genuinely impressed with this Olympiad because it has actually been compelling, entertaining, and fun to watch. Phelps, Bolt, and Wade 2.0 have actually got me paying attention. But even if the US were to lose, it wouldn't strike me much. There's no question the best basketball talent in the world lives in the US. Even after '04 and '06, that hasn't changed. So even if we weren't to get a medal, I wouldn't have noticed much. Furthermore, I'm not really a nationalistic kind of guy. I'll spare you the justification of my patriotism, which I assure you is quite strong, but I'm just not a rah-rah kind of guy. So it doesn't really get my blood pumping. I got invested when I saw this team playing well and people still doubting them. I was aggravated not at genuine, reasonable criticism, but at Wilbon spewing that we should have beaten Angola by 40 and that if we didn't, it was a disgrace. But really, I'm mostly just killing time until I can get started on season previews and fussing over rotations.
Oh, if there was ever a team built for me to hate more. It's got nothing to do with what happened in Athens, though trust me, that doesn't hurt. But that US Team was badly assembled, badly managed, badly coached, and played badly. That's what happens when you don't take globalization seriously. But here's this lineup of players I'm familiar with.
Manu-I think we can all safely say we understand that Matt's not the biggest fan of Lefty The Teleporting Troll Elf.
Andres Nocioni- Yes, you, Noc. "Look at him! He tries so hard! Sure, he's got no touch, no athletic advantages and looks not just clumsy but clown-like in an offensive set. But he tries! So! Hard!" And I know! Let's pay him a king's f*cking ransom to do it! And let's make sure he's a deal-breaker on the Gasol bid! Woo-hoo! Nocioni may not play. I cry foul.
Luis Scola- I'll admit it. I like Scola. I saw Scola early last season and admired him for his hustle and his willingness to just get the job done. He's like Nocioni. Only with athleticism and coordination. And not being paid the gross national income of, well... Argentina. But people have gone overboard. Particularly one site that's prone to exaggeration. We're not talking about Tim Duncan here. He's not an all-star. He does get worn down by guys bigger than him. And his offense is about as versatile as a hammer. You don't carve with a hammer. You don't weld with it. You hammer sh*t. That's what Luis Scola does. But I'm not scared of a hammer when I have three large handguns, a fighter jet and the android demon known as 2.0. Let's just settle our Argentinian granny panties down a sec, here.
Fabricio Oberto: Oh, the one I hate the most. Yes, more than Manu. At least Manu I respect. At least Manu I find myself saying "Wow. He just really is that good." Here's Pop's instructions to Fabricio Oberto. "Okay, Fab.." First off, his name is Fab. Anyway... "Okay, Fab. Heres' what I want you to do. Stand on the other side of the block from Tim. When Tim shoots, if he misses, put your forearm up near the closest player's back and push off. Then reach out and get the rebound. If no one's anywhere, remotely close to you, tap it off the glass. If they are, throw it to Tony. Do NOT shoot. Okay? On defense? I want you to fall down. Yes. Just wrap your arms up under his, and then when he tries to get away, fall down." And this guy has a ring.
And that leads me to my other problem. None of these guys can keep their feet. At least when Wade sprawls out, he makes contact. These guys are like a college comedy troupe doing trust falls. They're afraid the hard ground will hurt their delicate sensibilities. They have vertigo. You're bigger than they are, guys! Be a man! Stand!
So, please, USA, I'm asking you this one thing. You're welcome to underperform in the gold game. I would have forgiven you if you'd lost in the pool play. But beat these guys down. Run it up. Don't put Boozer in at the end. No victory cigars. Teach them a lesson. For the children.
In the interest of entertainment on a slow day, I asked the NBA Internet to fill in this sentence:
I want to see Team USA ____________ Argentina.
Below are their answers. For the record, they neither condone nor support my hate speech above.
The Dream Shake:
"I want to see Team USA showboat like Usain Bolt against Argentina."
I'm hoping it's a pretty good game. We won't get to see many of those until late October. So, "play."
Chip, Three Shades of Blue:
"I want to see Team USA sing 'Don't Cry for Me' Argentina."
"Bake a cake for."
Brian, Empty The Bench:
"Pour a glass of Malbec, from Mendoza, all over... make that a bottle."
Andrew Thell, Empty The Bench:
Stan, Bright Side of the Sun:
Graydon Gordian, 48 Minuts of Hell:
Wyn, Canis Hoopus:
Truth About It:
"I want to see Team USA 'do the hair of' Argentina.
It works two ways: in the South (U.S.) to do someone's hair on the basketball court is to roast them, or in simpler terms, to beat them soundly....just in case anyone wasn't aware.
The other way is obvious, have you seen some of the doos of team Argentina? Of course, they come from a country where the fashion mullet is huge...."
"make proverbial basektball diarrhea in the faces (and occasional bald spot) of"
"program a fleet of robots with the sole purpose of excavating precious jewels from"
"help to feed the poor of"
Brinson 2, Electic Bugaloo:
" 'drill.' So many levels."
Brett Edwards, The Association
"bukakke on the bald head of Manu Ginobili, who plays for"
Andrew Thell 2, Back In The Habit:
"Cuckold" was my second choice. For some reason I always associate cuckold with bukakke..."
More Truth About It:
"Uhh.....at the rate that this is going, why don't we just say: I want to see Team USA 'do the Aristocrats act on' Argentina. "
Josh Coleman, Three Shades of Blue:
" Boy, that escalated quickly... I mean, that really got out of hand.
I want to see Team USA demoralize Argentina."
Truth About It and Robin:
"You're telling me.....some dude stabbed Fabricio Oberto with a trident, I don't think he'll be able to go tomorrow."
"I want to see Team USA 'go full retard on' Argentina"