We kick off the first day of the FIBA World Championships with some fast break thoughts.
*Competitive basketball (where teams are actually trying to win something meaningful) returns today with the start of the FIBA World Championships in Turkey. There are loads of good previews for this tourney all over the web so if you’re looking for the skinny on each of the teams, you don’t have to go searching too hard. Over at Pro Basketball Talk, there’s a good preview of Team USA’s group and if you visit the NBA Facts and Rumors blog at CBS sports, you’ll find a comprehensive preview of the entire tourney that includes non NBA players to watch and sleeper teams.
*And speaking of the Worlds, if you’re looking for some insight into Team USA’s opponent today, go read Chris Sheridan’s post at TrueHoop where he gets a brief breakdown from Tony Ronzone on the former European power. (h/t to Kurt at PBT)
*One last point on the Worlds – most hoops junkies are interested in this event because it’s real basketball after a summer of free agency, trades, and talks of next year’s looming CBA negotiations. Or, there’s always the patriotic angle where nationalism rules and you root for your home country (whatever country that may be). But, this event is also where your favorite team may have a player or two on the squad and you want to see how those guys perform. On that note, Rob Mahoney has a very good read on where the Worlds and OKC intersect that is worth your time. And from a Lakers’ perspective, I know I’ll be watching Lamar Odom quite closely. As I’ve said before, I think his game is built for FIBA as his versatility from the front court allows him to do whatever the team needs on both offense and defense. Over at FanHouse, a closer look is taken at LO and how playing some Center for the U.S. team is just another thing that the do it all big man is taking on.
*In case you didn’t know, yesterday Derek Fisher filled in as host for Jim Rome on his t.v. show “Rome is Burning”. Fish was his normal classy and dapper self and handled himself well, I thought. Fish interviewed Bucks PG Brandon Jennings, got in some basketball talk with former NFL defensive lineman Marcellus Wiley, and spoke to some guy named “Kobe” for over 8 and a half minutes (way to hog the camera time #24). Some interesting quotes came out of that interview (we’ll get to those in a minute), but for some reason I couldn’t stop thinking that even though Kobe had his guard down speaking to one of his closest friends and teammates, he’s still very media savvy and knows that whatever he says (even when speaking to a friend in a joking environment) can get framed and twisted in churn of media regurgitation.
However, Kobe did say some interesting things nonetheless. His most played comment will probably be him comparing the teaming of the Heat’s new triumvirate to my favorite cartoon of all time. My only question is who is the Blue Lion? My vote goes to Bosh, but Mike Miller may be a candidate too. Another interesting thing that Kobe said was that while he can never say never, he’s 99.9% sure that he’ll retire a Laker. Over at PBT, Matt Moore tells us that it’s actually kind of rare for great players to stay with the same team for their entire career. And when you think about it, he’s right. Sure Magic and Bird did. West and Baylor did too. As did Stockton and the “Admiral” David Robinson. But who else?
*Finally, in case you did miss Fish grilling Kobe (sorry, I haven’t eaten breakfast yet) here’s the entire interview. Enjoy.