From Chris Sheridan, ESPN.com: I’ve picked the Americans to win, and I’m rooting for my pick. But I also hope this one comes down to the final seconds just like the second semifinal did, because witnessing one of these one-and-done games, on the road in a country where the home team and the home crowd are united as one, is to witness international basketball at its very, very best. Be sure to remember that if you find yourself deciding whether watching the second half of a Week 1 NFL game can compare to watching Durant and the rest of Team USA try to accomplish something that hasn’t happened in 16 years, in the toughest atmosphere imaginable.
From Adrian Wojnarowski, Yahoo Sports: Twenty-four hours earlier, Kevin Durant had scrunched his face, pursed his lips and played back the most arduous moments of the Los Angeles Lakers series. His accuracy stunning, his disposition downright dour, Durant ripped off a detailed list of the most minute transgressions that had cost the Oklahoma City Thunder. He had come to these world championships on a journey of self-discovery, on a rapid and resounding rise toward an MVP and an NBA championship…While LeBron James tried to decide this weekend whether he wanted to go to a college football game in the States, Durant had a decision of his own to make in the final seconds. Take an open shot for his 39th and 40th points, or drop the ball to Andre Igudoala for a dunk. Surprise, surprise: Durant flipped him the pass, Igudoala flushed the ball, and the Americans move into what promises to be a wild, raucous gold-medal game against host Turkey.
From Chris Olds, ESPN.com Page 2: But there was one thing that Robert Horry never did during his pro career — he never signed a basketball card featuring him in an NBA uniform for a trading card company. Despite all those clutch shots that helped the Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Lakers and San Antonio Spurs win it all — a few times — there weren’t any certified autographs (cards he was paid to sign that were then placed into packs) showing him in any of those uniforms. But all that has changed.
From Alex Kennedy, Hoopsworld: Devin Ebanks wasn’t supposed to be a second round pick. Three years ago, he was one of the top high school players in the nation and looked like a future lottery pick. He was putting up impressive numbers, dominating national tournaments and camps, and being recruited by the top college programs in the country. So how did the Los Angeles Lakers land Ebanks with the forty-third pick in this year’s draft? After two solid seasons at West Virginia, the twenty-year old forward was overlooked in a class that was loaded with wing players. Despite being one of the better athletes in the group and possessing the kind of potential not usually found in a second round selection, Ebanks sat in front of his television and watched as other players came off of the board in front of him. That’s when the defending champions finally grabbed him.
From Mike B., Bleacher Report: Michael Jordan vs. Kobe Bryant. An NBA superstar of the past vs. an NBA superstar of today. Who’s better? Sometimes, younger fans give the nod to Bryant since they never watched Jordan play in his prime and feel that Jordan only dominated in the 1990s because the decade was watered down. On the other hand, older fans claim Jordan is the greatest hoops player ever and that Bryant isn’t even in the same galaxy because he played in a not-so-competitive era and served as a sidekick to Shaquille O’Neal for years. Fans’ opinions may differ on the subject, but everyone agrees that both players are all-time greats. So what if Jordan and Bryant swapped eras?