Look, I love America. What I’m about to say isn’t an act of sedition, anti-patriotism, or revolution. I was born here, raised here, and have left this country only three times. I love Michael Bay movies, Band of Brothers, and the Declaration of Independence. I vote, I know how many justices are on the Supreme Court, and I’ve been to the White House. I LOVE this country, so keep that in mind before you absorb this thought…..
I want the US Men’s National Basketball team to lose!
And you should too.
I want them to lose BADLY.
I want them to get pantsed by Spain, punked by Argentina, or embarrassed by Russia. I want Coach K to use all of his timeouts. I want Carmelo Anthony to start throwing up bricks. I want LeBron James to choke in the 4th quarter. I want to watch Kobe Byant have to look on as Pau Gasol wins Olympic gold.
Mostly, I just really want Kobe, LeBron, and Carmelo to lose. They are not only the three most unlikable players on the team, but they as well be the three most unlikable players on Earth. Kobe has turned that un-likability into a performance art that is as compelling to me as a Chekov play, yes, but that doesn’t mean I want to watch him win anything. I, like the rest of the world, find LeBron to be an egomaniacal and immature blockhead and Carmelo Anthony to be a coach-killing ball-hog with no sense of self-awareness. Would you even want these three to win a game of Monopoly? Don’t let your sense of patriotic duty cloud your judgment.
Look at Spain. They have two brothers who are both excellent NBA players, yet don’t get the respect they so clearly deserve. One of said brothers spends his season getting shouted at and berated for being “soft.” They have the best shot-blocker in the world, whose Spanish nationality is clearly a put-on, yet he chose to play with the team because he wants to be a part of something different. They also have someone who’s key reason for signing with an NBA team was the ability to get a direct flight to Spain.
Moreover, if Spain beats Team USA in the gold medal round, we could seriously make an awesome sports movie about it; beginning with the Lakers being eliminated in the playoffs, Kobe yelling at Pau, and he and his brother coming together to slay the unbeatable giant. I’d rather watch that movie than Paranormal Activity 4.
Plus, we could have a bit where Pau goes purse shopping.
I know I’m not alone in this. I know that there’s a part of you that watched these recent games and just a little bit wanted to see Lithuania knock them down a peg. We’re preternaturally disposed to cheering for the underdog- there’s something uniquely American about it. It’s that odd gene that makes things like the Miracle on Ice, the 2007 Super Bowl and the 2004 ALCS seem that much more exciting. It’s why most American sports movies are exactly the same- team is formed under tough circumstances, team struggles, team finds something to believe in, team beats favorite. No one watches Rocky and cheers for Apollo Creed, despite the fact that he’s as decorated in red, white, and blue as Uncle Sam.
Really, the most American thing to do is to cheer for the underdog. We produce the best basketball players in the world, and we continue to do so at a level that is so out of balance with the rest of the planet that the competition has become a foregone conclusion. The most magical moments in sports are the ones that catch you by surprise:
The Men’s 4×100 in Beijing.
Game 162 of the 2011 MLB Season.
The 2011 NBA Finals.
When everything seems pre-determined, when we seem to be on a joyless march to a certain conclusion, it’s those moments where everything stops and something unbelievable happens that stick with you.
That’s why I want Team USA to lose.
I want them to do something they haven’t yet done…..
Follow Dakota Gardner on Twitter @dakotagardner