Another Olympiad has come to an end, meaning I no longer have 19 hours of guaranteed watchable TV each day. It’s also a time to reflect on what happened over the past two weeks, and what needs to be changed for the future. This is part one, part two will be posted manana.
To the world’s horror, what we feared most happened Sunday. The renegade Irish priest who has been holding the world hostage these past three years struck again. It’s sad when our worst fears come true.
One final bit on the US men’s basketball team before I drop it. The bronze medal game had something for everyone. Uninspired play by the US through much of the first three quarters, highlighting one last time all the areas those of us who have been critical of for the tournament. In the fourth quarter, the light finally went on, they began playing stifling defense, concentrated on truly sharing the ball rather than seeing who could throw the best behind-the-back pass, and lo and behold, three pointers started dropping. Larry Brown finally found a lineup that worked in Marbury, Iverson, Odom, Marion, and Duncan and the US cruised to the win. Any hope for the future was destroyed when David Stern mentioned Vince Carter as a player who could have helped this year’s squad. Vince Carter?!?!? Another overrated “athlete” who couldn’t hit a clutch jumper if the fate of the world relied on it? Oh, but VC is marketable, so the commish had to push his name.
Also, regarding Jason Whitlock’s assertion that criticism of this year’s team was based on racism, who are the four players most often mentioned as guys who could have helped this team? Ray Allen, Michael Redd, Rip Hamilton, and Tayshaun Prince. Brothers all around. I know Jason’s assertion was based more on style of play criticism, but add two of the four shooters named above, Duncan can get loose inside, we can force the zones to guard the perimeter, and the slashers can actually find room to operate. Gold medal, team racial balance not altered in any way.
I give NBC a B+ for its coverage this year. The use of their various cable outlets to show as much action as possible was a tremendous move, rewarding the interested viewer. They’ve come a long way since their Triple Cast concept in 1992. However, far too many interesting events were still condensed into a neat 10-minute package that showed who won the gold and how the key US performers fared. I realize they’re focusing on the big US picture, but why not use the USA Network to show every second of non-prime track and field events? You can still share a five-minute summary in prime time to split up the 157 hours of gymnastics, and those of us who would like to see the entire long jump event get satisfaction.
Another quibble is how NBC treated taped events as live. In a US volleyball game that ended 12 hours earlier, and NBC missed points during commercial breaks as if the action was live. If you’ve got 12 hours to edit and plan, you can do better than to have the game be tied at 22 after a commercial when the US was up 21-19 before the commercial.
There were plenty of clunkers on the mic for NBC, the worst absolutely had to be the guy doing the interviews at the track and field stadium. After the first night, couldn’t they have sent an intern down to write some decent questions for him? Or put Bob Costas in his earpiece with some questions that made sense? It’s a tough job, but I think NBC did pretty well this time around.