When you compare and contrast the way we view our national basketball team with the way we view our national hockey teams, it's more than a little shocking. The FIBA Americas Olympic Qualification tournament starts today for our men's basketball team as we try and qualify for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Have a look at our roster.
You won't find Steve Nash on that list, by far the greatest player this country has ever produced. You also won't find Jamaal Magloire, the other Canadian NBA veteran. There are recent college stars like Denham Brown, Carl English and Juan Mendez, and NBAer Sam Dalembert, but our best team won't be on the court in Las Vegas, and we're okay with that. Canadians are content with not contending when it comes to international basketball tournaments.
If one great NHLer bowed out of a major international tournament, we'd try him for treason. Every blogger in this country would call him out and claim it was his duty to represent Canada. We care about contending in hockey. It's too bad we don't care about contending in basketball, too.
Steve Nash, where are you?