T Nation

Street Ball and US basketball

I was watching that street ball show on ESPN 2 the other day, and it really bothered me. These kids and young adults spend so much time practicing amazing, fancy moves that are breathtaking- yet worthless in any serious organized game.

These moves must take so much time to practice and develop, its sad that they ignore their fundamental game to do something that should just be something to do on the side for fun.

There’s a guy who breakdances while dribbling! WTF? Yes, its amazing to look at, but what 's the point?

With the coordination and competitiveness these guys have, they could be working on their game day in and day out, especially their jumpshot and low post moves. But especially their jumper.

THey could be striving towards winning athletic scholarships for college and playing high levels of b-ball. In the long run, a college degree is worth exponentially more than not having one.

All these kids dream of playing in the big leagues, but the skills they practice are setting them up to be the 45 yr old guy in the neighborhood who’s a short-order cook or a garbagegeman but was a serious balla when he was a kid and is still respected.

THe guy who organizes the show says he loves street ball more than organized b-ball but he already received a D1 scholarship and got his degree. Its easy for him to organize this, he already has an education.

What happened to guys like Larry Bird and Michael Jordan, guys who practiced all day in HS and college taking 100s and 100s of jumpers a day, and continued doing it even when they were already superstars?

These guys are growing up in other countries, that’s where they are.

If you have a deadly shot, you will always find a place to play, even if that’s all you can do well.

Remember short, not particularly athletic white guys like Paxson and Saxon who always came thru in the clutch for the Bulls, making backbreaking 3 pointers one after the other?

The losses to Italy and pr for the US team just hi-lited the lack of fundamental shooting skills of elite US players.

Both teams shot the light out from behind the 3 point line, while we missed 14 footers.

I hope coaches at even the youngest age groups start drilling into the minds of their players the importance of fundamental skills, because if they don’t, these kids are going to grow up into teenagers who only want to play like NBA supestars, and we all know how much teenagers listen to adults who tell them what to do. I don’t know any youth coaches so I’m not sure if that’s something they already take seriously.

BTW, I realize that if the US starting 5 were Kidd and Kobe at the guards, T-Mac/Rasheed and Garnett at the forwards, and of course Shaq at center, it wouldn’t even be close.

BUt that’s no excuse for our team to lose considering the elite players on the squad, even if they are a 1/2 step behind the superstars listed above.

Wat do u guys think?

How can you not include Duncan in your winning starting 5? (Kidd, Kobe, Garnett, T-Mac/Rasheed and Shaq) And Rasheed Wallace is good but not anywhere near the superstar level of these other guys. Plus what Team USA needs are skilled shooters not more slash and dunk or power players. Unfortunetly there are not too many of them anymore. Players like Peja, to bad he isn’t American. I guess maybe Ray Allen, Mike Bibby and Michael Redd. This losing doesn’t surprise me. All these young players with HUGE egos. Carmelo, LeBron they are good but not Olympic quality. Carmelo couldn’t even play half-way decent in the play-offs before he hurt himself. I will stop now.

[quote]Sonny S wrote:
BTW, I realize that if the US starting 5 were Kidd and Kobe at the guards, T-Mac/Rasheed and Garnett at the forwards, and of course Shaq at center, it wouldn’t even be close.[/quote]

I have to disagree a little here, especially concerning Shaq. While any of the above players is a step up in talent, I don’t think any of them would have necessarily won it for the US, especially Shaq. We already have an inside game. You said so yourself that we we’re missing shooters. Where’s Michael Redd? Jon Barry? Team USA needs a strong outside shot that they are lacking right now.

From the above list of players, I’m not sure any of them would be consistent enough from 15 feet and beyond. Maybe they would; Kobe and Kidd are probably better pure shooters than what’s on the court abd Garnett has pretty good range, but is that enough?

I say forget the overall talent, athleticism, and marketability and get some pure shooters in there.

As far as the rest of your post; are you talking about the And1 gametapes? They have some amazing talent and can do some spectacular tricks, but like you said, it doesn’t help in actual organized games. The exception may be dribbling tricks; everyone can always afford to be a better dribbler. That’s part of my turn off with the direction of the NBA. Kids worrying about wild jumping and dunking, but can’t consistently hit a 10 foot jumper. Learn to shoot, dammit! And by the way, it’s ok to use the backboard. If you have to bank it in, then bank it. That’s what it’s there for.

Now, I’m rambling, and I could go on for pages, but as far as the stuff you saw on TV, sure they have talent, but I guess it all depends what their goals are. Do they want to go to college and play ball? Are they trying to go straight to the NBA? I’m not going to criticize them for not putting their talent to how I would use it. I’m not them. I don’t know what they want in life.
Ok, I’m done,
Todd

I have seen this crap on ESPN too. The throngs of people watching this bothers me. I love the way they totally disregard the rules on double dribbling and traveling and think they made a great move to boot. I’m not taking away their ballhandling skills, because they certainly can command the ball to do what they want, but what they do is akin to tucking the ball under the arm and running to the hoop.
Sadly, this is the state of bball in the U.S. right now as evidenced by the pr game. 5 guys trying to deke out their opponent and drive to the hole rather than play it as a team. That’s why I don’t like the NBA and watch NCAA almost exclusively, where the team concept rules or the team loses.
Also, the USA coaches should be castrated for not having a sharpshooter on the team. The NBA players union is to blame for the lack of talent on the team. Too many pussies wouldn’t play because they don’t get paid or because they are afraid. We deserve what we get. If the NBA shortened the season to a reasonable length, they could get better players to participate as well since they would still be able to get in 1-2 months of vacation while the rest of us get our 2 weeks in. Fricking babies.

Heres a great article on the “Dream” team.
http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=simmons/040804

[quote]dollarbill44 wrote:
I have seen this crap on ESPN too. The throngs of people watching this bothers me. I love the way they totally disregard the rules on double dribbling and traveling and think they made a great move to boot. I’m not taking away their ballhandling skills, because they certainly can command the ball to do what they want, but what they do is akin to tucking the ball under the arm and running to the hoop.
Sadly, this is the state of bball in the U.S. right now as evidenced by the pr game. 5 guys trying to deke out their opponent and drive to the hole rather than play it as a team. That’s why I don’t like the NBA and watch NCAA almost exclusively, where the team concept rules or the team loses.
Also, the USA coaches should be castrated for not having a sharpshooter on the team. The NBA players union is to blame for the lack of talent on the team. Too many pussies wouldn’t play because they don’t get paid or because they are afraid. We deserve what we get. If the NBA shortened the season to a reasonable length, they could get better players to participate as well since they would still be able to get in 1-2 months of vacation while the rest of us get our 2 weeks in. Fricking babies.[/quote]

I have to disagree with the bottom of your post. That is only an issue because they are superstars. You think Michael Redd would turn down a chance to be in the Olympics? And to use examples from Sports Guy’s article, Brian Cardinal? Tayshaun? Battier? These guys would jump at the opportunity. And any B-Ball fan could have said what Bill Simmons is saying; this isn’t a team, it’s a collection of All-Stars. After, who would want to buy a Brian Cardinal Team USA jersey? Money still rules, even in the Olympics.

[quote]splkast wrote:
This losing doesn’t surprise me. All these young players with HUGE egos. Carmelo, LeBron they are good but not Olympic quality. Carmelo couldn’t even play half-way decent in the play-offs before he hurt himself. I will stop now.[/quote]

I’m not a big fan of the huge, inflated egos either, but I don’t think it’s fair to badmouth the guys who did show up. At least they had the balls to represent us at the Olympics. I have a newfound respect for guys like A.I. and Stephon after this.

I don’t necessarily disagree with you about alternative players. I rant sometimes and veer off course. I only meant to say that the elite U.S. players generally don’t participate and I have heard/read some of their comments that part of this is due to the rigors of the long NBA season.
I’m all for taking talented players who really want to play for their country (some of the names you listed). Personally, I would rather see it go back to college players making up the Olympic team, at least they went all out. The PR game was nauseating to watch b/c of the lack of effort for 75% of the game and the haphazard play due to no apparent gameplan. Remind me why Larry Brown is considered a genius?

I think the US losing a few games in their hunt for the Gold is a good thing.
Too many times we praise these ball-hogging showoffs and allow their egos to be as big as the stadiums they play in.

They are getting beaten by TEAMS, not STARS. One only needs to look as far as this years NBA championships to see what a solid TEAM can do to a formidable cast of all stars. Really, it shouldn’t be so surprising. Hell look at the Patriots, the Lightning, the Marlins, USC, all TEAMS… The list can go on and on. TEAMS win championships. It shouldn’t be that far out of our psyche to realize this.

Yet we as a public expect these singular heros of the game to mesh together a month before the games and mop the floor with these other teams around the globe. That’s what NBC is trying to sell, thats all. “Tune in to watch the all stars whip up on the competition!” The only thing this has whipped up is a very cynical public view on the product of players and coaches we sent to Athens.

I’m glad for this, because now when high school coaches are talking to their respective teams in any sport this summer or fall, they can use the Dream Team as an example, on how humble honest team play can take you to the promise land, not individual statistics or ball-hoggedry.

My two cents anyway,

B.

Nothing wrong with Streetball. I find it entertaining.

[quote]JMB wrote:
Nothing wrong with Streetball. I find it entertaining. [/quote]

How entertaining is it when they lose? I fail to find entertainment in that.

Oh, I was talking about the ESPN show “Streetball.” Clearly the style of play doesn’t work in a more organized setting.

And I agree, Sunday’s game was anything but entertaining. I think it’s a shame that so many NBA players refused to play on the national team.


JMB

[quote]BradTGIF wrote:
JMB wrote:
Nothing wrong with Streetball. I find it entertaining.

How entertaining is it when they lose? I fail to find entertainment in that.
[/quote]

he was referring to the Streetball shown on ESPN2, not the style of play that many of our olympic hopefulls are demonstrating…

that being said, two things people dont realize, alot of the guys on the And1 tour (the streetball show you see on tv) have played in college, played overseas, and beleive it or not, are making a decent living doing what they love to do, entertaining people by playing basketball… also, guys like Speedy Claxton and (I cant remember his real name) Half Man Half Amazing, are now doing well on their respective nba teams, so its not so much that these streetballers simply grew up in the ghetto and have no sense of left or right, but they each get a percentage of the tape when a new one comes out each year (which is always sold out in stores), they’ve almost all played college ball (except for a few), and now they are starting to make the jump to the nba

and for the last time, if something on TV bothers you so much, why not change the chanell? You said so yourself, you were amazed at the tricks they could do, why is this not satisfaction enough? This is what they use to entertain people and make their money, if this were high school games i would understand, but in the meantime, this is pure entertainment and fun, fundementals be damned

How many millions of dollars have the Harlem Globetrotters made playing ‘Streetball’. Nuff said.

As for the Creamed Team, they do not have the right mix. Duncan is in top 3 in the world, but as Puerto Rico proved, it is the outside game that wins.

It’s pathetic to watch these NBA guards throwing up brick after brick from the international 3 point line (which is 3 feet closer than the NBA line).

BTW, Brent Berry > Jon Berry

I don’t care, give me any Barry. Heck, give me their dad, Rick Berry. He’s probably still a better shooter than what’s out there now.

Some of you guys completely missed the point of my post. I don’t have a problem with the show, I enjoy it. But, I spec. mentioned the young guys doing these amazing moves INSTEAD OF working on their fundamentals.

Again: they have coordination athleticism and competitiveness and a love for b-ball, and that makes them candidates to play high levels of b-ball, from HS on up.

They bother me because they have a bright future but instead do a circus act. I’m a teacher, and I hate to see talent go to waste.

Understand now?

Furthermore, they represent the reality of NBA and US b-ball, which is players lacking in fundamentals who are greedy w/the rock and care more about flashy plays and drives to the hoop than actually scoring points.

And I was told only 1 player made it to the NBA, but he made it BACK in, he had already been on a team. If I’m wrong, let me know.

Great ESPN article BTW.

Harlem globetrotters making millions? The owners, yeah. But whatever a player makes is NOTHING compared to an NBA salary and prob doesn’t come close to a a good overseas salary in Spain, Italy etc.

And what if they get hurt? THen they don’t have a college degree because they spent time entertaining instead of practicing. And they’ll end up being short-order cooks etc.

you said jon berry for the outside shot, if you’s a Nuggs fan (you must be to mention him), go with Leonard, when he starts strokin… WATCH OUT!

Maybe even the showboating streetballers would show more heart than the US team against Puerto Rico at the Olympics. Pathetic.

Rafer Alston, Allen Iverson, Stephon Marbury, his younger brother. Another New York street ball player Sebastain Telfair, 13 pick this past draft. Now am I saying that I support “Street Ball” yes and no. Some of those moves that we praise in November are the ones that are created on the street. I totally agree with you, in the terms of fundamentals before the flashy part.

My biggest concern with basketball is the shooting. That has declined the most part. But the dribble ability overall has increased. Did you ever see Ewing push the ball up the court like Garnett can. Did you ever see Robinson, shoot outside like Rasheed? No we haven’t. Overall the game has got better. There just aren’t that many players that are going to hit the open 17-22 foot shot, like we saw in the 80’s and 90’s.

We all have to understand there is a big difference between the dream team, and whatever you want to call this team. The dream team. Had some of the GREATEST PLAYERS of all time. Bird, Magic, Jordan, Barkley, and even Robinson that was his prime. Some of the greatest shooters in Mullen, Stockton, Bird. Name one player on this team, maybe Duncan would never be mentioned in the same breath as them. I know that I am missing the rest of the team.

Now with that said. We have to understand that these players except Iverson, and Duncan, are not the ELITE! These players are our third and fourth choices. There is a BIG!! difference between the best and the second best.

If we sent our best, and they did what we KNOW they would do. No one would even be talking about fundamentals.
People talk about there individualism. Just about every player the comes into the league is that way. Lets remember that some of our best have never been great team players there first few years. Jordan in fights at practice with his team mates. Barkley never was a team player until he joined the Rockets! Drexler the ultimate one man team. He did everything for the Blazers.

College Athletes?? Are you guys crazy, don’t you see this years best college player on the bench? If he is not going to do anything, who is going to? Even when Laettner got in, he was getting abused. Trust me I watch those games at least once a month. The people that the US are playing a good! If the NBA wasn’t so jam packed with other outstanding pro’s they would be there. Why don’t some of you look at the international swing that has came the past few years!! The level of play has increased as basketball has gained international popularity.

Globetrotters, they don’t make anything compared to what Americans get paid over seas. Play in the top league over here 200,000 euros min. 1 dollar equals 73 cents euro. Do the math. I could have played in the NBADL but I chose to come here to play. Germany. Where we live a pretty good life. The level of competition is just the same here as in the states trust me.

malontd: We need Shaq in the since of, every team US faces uses a zone defense. Dump the ball down low, then kick back out to a shooter. Some one will be open. Also when was Kidd ever considered a outside shooter. That is the weakest part of his game.

paytonSp: I realize I shouldn’t have used the word elite, because in many cases you are correct, some players would be in many peoples’ eyes a 3rd or even 4th choice. I forget that as fans we get conditioned to think that all NBA players are superstars, even Richard jefferson and Lebron, when the reality is Jefferson is an underachiever who flashes brilliance and Lebron is just a kid who will, in the future, prob be a superstar in terms of game (he’s already a superstar name and merchandise-wise.)

Mark Cuban surprises me when he says that we should not send NBA players in int’l competition becuase its “a stupid business to have our most valuable assets thrown together and risk injury.”
What about representing your country Mark? What about proving US dominance on the court and maintaining our rep as the unquestioned best b-ball country in the world? What about the fact that the Olympics is still the #1 showcase worldwide of b-ball?

Its all about the mizzoney, ain’t it? God bless America, where $$$ should always be the #1 consideration in everything we do. Bitch.

The he says that the Dream Team existed only: “in order to create a marketing vehicle that competes with the NBA and out TV partners to sell advertising around our players.”

So tha’s why you’re upset: OTHER people were making money off b-ball, not just owners, the league and players. So if maybe the owners were profiting from the Olympics that would be 1 thing. But if they’re not, its a bad idea.

I lost some respect for Cuban after reading those words.

I’ll have more later today