To the Editor:
This story is best started at the beginning. Although I grew up in Georgia, my mother was born and raised in Indianapolis and graduated from Indiana University. All my life I remember her watching basketball. One of the games she watched was the 1972 Munich Olympics gold medal game between the US and the USSR. My, oh my, was my mother furious.
She was storming around the house, insisting that the Soviets had cheated the whole game. They never would have been close enough to steal the game by putting extra time on the clock, not even twice. She threw in comments about how dumb our amateur athletic system was when everybody else in the world paid cold, hard cash to their Olympic athletes.
In 1992, I was a grownup living in Detroit. Boy, were most Detroiters mad about the Dream Team. We were Pistons fans and loved Bill Laimbeer. We believed, with all our heart and soul, that Michael Jordan personally kept Isaiah Thomas off that Dream Team because Isaiah didn’t pass the ball to Michael enough in the preceding All Star game.
Then the Dream Team went on to beat the stew out of every other team by so many points it was never a contest. At the time, I thought that so-called Dream Team was a bunch of spoiled brats.
Last night I watched the NBC short about the 1992 Dream Team and I had a chance to think about America, basketball, the Olympics, my mother and stuff like that. Those guys on the 1992 Dream Team almost to a man later entered the Hall of Fame. Magic Johnson said winning that gold medal was the best basketball moment he ever had. The main point: basketball is OUR sport. It was made in America and WE will always play it the best. Always.
So what do I think today? Basketball is OUR sport, we will always play it the best, and nobody, nowhere, is going to steal Olympic gold from us in that sport. If the world hadn’t wanted us to put the big guns on that Olympic court for the rest of eternity, well, they shouldn’t have cheated in 1972.