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2012 Olympic Basketball: You in?

Like Gollum, Bane, or Dick Cheney hate has become so much a second skin to me that the idea that I might molt and emerge an Olympic basketball loving butterfly was both surprising and gross, and—much like Dick Cheney himself--on some level deeply arousing.

LeBron? Fwah. Doesn’t that guy spend his offseasons daydreaming about ways to make it even easier for him to win titles? I heard he wrote a letter to David Stern suggesting that while he’s making the Olympics a 23 and under zone, he should make the NBA itself a 27+ zone, just to be fair.

Durant, Westbrook and Harden? Sources tell me they are just completely inconsolable right now because they have not yet won a title at an average age of 22.6666, which makes me want to punch them until my knuckles fall off. Also, Harden is reportedly only involved to train as a flopper with the Italians, and a beard-grower with the Slovakians.

Kobe Bryant? Rumor has it that he’s got a guy taping every pass he makes in the Olympics so he can mail the tapes to Pau and Bynum to make them cry.

Anthony Davis? No one’s going to mention that a tall athletic guy who’s about to become a multimillionaire might not exactly be a hero for refusing to alter his appearance to be more conventionally attractive? Like, maybe being an NBA athlete is all the conventionally attractive he needs? Maybe?

Kevin Love? The guy who desperate sports anchors gratefully latched on to as the next PF to be better than Dirk after the big German annihilated Pau so bad the police put out a missing persons report, and then lost a lot of weight so my girlfriend finds him really attractive?

Fwah! Fwah I say!

But then I watched a game, and it was awesome.

Do I think this team is the heavy favorite to win, but could also lose? Of course. I know Spain and Argentina are great, but you never before in your life said that Manu or Pau are better than Durant and LeBron, and you’re not going to start now.

What the European teams HAVE is that they play together a lot more than the American team, and something else. Namely, they are not currently locked into the psychosexual crime drama that is "Every big American NBA Star under 29". I’m not sure how important it is, and I KNOW I’m so bored by it I could go back to punching the Thunder, but it’s real.

There’s LeBron, who’s missing his two Heatles teammates for injury, but who finally validated his unbelievably bad PR choices and unbelievably cowardly basketball choices with a ring, which he can now presumably rub in the face of every single teammate he has except for Kobe and Tyson Chandler, just because his extremely lame ploy to create an all-star team worked while Chris Paul and Carmelo’s hasn’t, and Westbrook, Harden and Duran’ts more organic offering hasn’t yet.

There’s Carmelo himself, who was supposed to get his own big three in New York, has apparently lost Amar’e Stoudemire to an alien body snatcher who doesn’t know how to play basketball, can’t get his Chris Paul, and has had the extreme misfortune of having the press tell the truth about him for the last year: a truly elite one-on-one player who is a coach-murderer, a PG-killer, who can barely imagine anyone wanting to run an offense, for any reason—while not being elite enough, maybe no one is, to win more than half of his games, by himself. And who now has a heaping helping of way-too-old PG and way-too-Raymond-Felton, Raymond Felton.

There’s Love, who at 23, playing with one of the best young PGs in the league, on a team with one of the most exciting cores out there, is apparently about 5 minutes from demaind a trade himself because he’s been left out of the party, and having to wait more than 30 seconds to win a championship is now officially a chump’s game.

There’s Chris Paul, the best point guard alive, and an absolute assassin in crunch time, who, in his old age has apparently become delusional and believes his team was exactly one Chauncey Billups away from the trophy, which is like saying that this Big Mac is exactly one not being a Big Mac from being good for you.

It’s crazy. It’s intense. It’s a mortal enough lock that some game, Carmelo is going to go 4-26 trying to prove he belongs and make some silly game unnecessarily close.

But it’s also, and this is for real, so, so good. I don’t know if you guys watched any of the games. I saw some of each, but most of USA-Spain. Those Spanish guys are good. But the US guys were passing them crazy, always finding an open shot. Why not, with some of the most creative passers in the game out there, and some of the best finishers?

They were scrambling on defense, stealing passes, blocking shouts, clogging the lanes. It was like a varsity vs. JV game—and it’s not supposed to look like that any more. But it did.

It is not the Dream Team. The Dream Team had Scottie Pippen where this team has James Harden, Chris Mullin where this team has Andre Iguodala. But it’s definitely one of the top 3 or 4 basketball teams to ever play, since that day long ago, in 776 BCE, when the games were first celebrated near the temple of Zeus Olympios, around the shrine of the hero Pelops, he of the ivory shoulder.

Although I heard those Trojans could BALL.

I am excited about Olympic basketball. Are you?