Michael Lee of the Washington Post has asked team USA about recent talk of their private chef. "Chef Lovie" gets high praise from players. But in the ensuing conversation, Dwyane Wade undermines the work of nutrition experts everywhere by saying that he simply does not eat vegetables. Can that even be true? Lee reports: "'You got to stay with what you know,' Wade said. 'I don't eat seafood. I don't eat vegetables. I don't eat none of that stuff, so I got to really stick with what I know.' What, no vegetables? How does Wade get his nutrients? 'I don't know. I don't eat vegetables,' he said."
You know those tables showing how many medals each team has won? I got a very interesting question from a TrueHoop reader Fatih who is wondering if there might be a version of such a table broken down not by nation, but by corporate footwear sponsor. The Nike vs. Adidas medal table, if you will. As the sneaker wars go global, there is a big money riding on that kind of stuff. Hard to believe some intern hasn't put something together.
John Branch of The New York Times writes about how there are empty seats at a lot of Olympic venues. And even more curiously, many occupied seats are filled by people who are organized and instructed to be there cheering: "In the first few days of the Olympics, clusters of Chinese fans with matching shirts and cheer sticks have become regular sights at many of the lower-profile venues, particularly prominent at events without Chinese teams. 'Not many people know handball,' said a woman who identified herself as Ms. Zheng. 'That is why we come here - to cheer both sides. We are friendly Chinese.' She stood at the Olympic Sports Center on Monday, amid hundreds of people in matching yellow shirts reading 'Cheering from Beijing Workers' in both Mandarin and English. Some were on their way out of a water polo match. Others waited to enter a handball game. Most wore matching fanny packs filled with cheering props, like deflated cheer sticks and folded banners. They said they were taught at work how to perform several cheers, and some were given DVDs to study at home. Soon after groups were ushered behind the goals of the handball arena for a women's game between Romania and China, it became obvious that they would not fill all the seats. They were rearranged until some sections were tightly filled; others sat empty. They performed chants and greeted the Romanian players with banging sticks during introductions. They politely cheered when Romania scored and offered a heartier response for the Chinese team."
TrueHoop reader Noah e-mails: "Is it me, or could Chris Kaman actually be more useful as a twelfth man than Carlos Boozer? If things go as expected, wouldn't you rather have Kaman cheering from the sidelines than Boozer? Wouldn't he be a more eager practice player? Wouldn't it make the Utah Jazz and the Clippers happier? Then, if someone does get hurt, it's not like Team USA is going to want Boozer to come in and score 25 points. If I'm not mistaken, counting on Boozer's offense in the Olympics would mean you're going to lose anyway. So for me, personally, in a situation where Bosh or Howard got hurt, I'd want somebody who can guard the opposing bigs, be a real center, and go out there and play like there was no tomorrow. Somebody who averaged more rebounds and more blocks last season. Call me crazy, but I just realized the American guy I want as Team USA's twelfth man is currently playing for Germany." I can see that point. Although, to be honest, I believe in Boozer on this team, because while he is a star, he's also just a first-class bucket-getter under any circumstances, which means he has a good chance to produce even when the play is not run for him. Guys like that stave off scoring droughts.
If you are following the bouncing ball of rumored Milwaukee/Cleveland/Oklahoma city trade, you will be very interested to read this thorough analysis from BrewHoop.
David Thorpe now, apparently, has a personal archivist.
ESPN's Chris Sheridan has a very interesting preview of Team USA vs. Greece. He quotes Jason Kidd predicting that the Greek team will try to get under the skin of Dwight Howard and Carmelo Anthony. Then there is interesting talk about defensive strategy: "Interestingly, Krzyzewski said the Americans' game plan going in will not include much use of a traditional 2-3 zone unless the man-to-man defense proves ineffective. That's particularly intriguing given Greece's difficulty scoring against a traditional zone, something the American coaching staff noticed as it was on hand to scout Tuesday's Greece-Germany game. 'If I tell my guys we're going to play a certain amount of zone, it's almost like saying our man-to-man is not good defense. Just psychologically,' Krzyzewski said Wednesday in discussing his tactical scheme with ESPN.com. But if they're no good against the zone, shouldn't you play zone? 'Well, no,' Coach K said. 'They may not be good against our man, and over the years, the championship teams I've had have made teams adjust to them. And if you're constantly adjusting to who you play, then you've got to be careful you never know who you are. But again, zone is part of our repertoire, and I'm not saying we're not going to use it, I'm just saying I don't know how many minutes we'll use it."
Eric Musselman on Angola's defense, and how it may encourage Team USA's upcoming opponents: "Only five Team USA players got to the foul line, which had to do with Angola's active zone defense. The idea was to force the Americans to try to beat them from over the top of the zone. It worked as Team USA shot a poor 5-21 from (international) 3-point range. D. Wade made two of the five. Michael Redd, touted as the team's best 3-point shooter, missed both of his attempts. At some point, the Americans are going to have to consistently hit perimeter jump shots, something they've been unable to do for several years now. On the other hand, dribble-penetration and transition offense are so efficient it's incredible. Still, the inability to make outside shots is a concern. Watch for other teams to employ a similar strategy to what Angola used today."
Matt Mitten of Opinio Juris (via Sports Law Blog) with a note on drug testing: "... it is important to note that all athletes participating in the Olympics, including U.S. professional team sport athletes, are subject to a drug testing regime based on the World Anti-doping Code, which is more stringent than the current drug testing programs established by collective bargaining between U.S. major professional leagues and the corresponding player unions. Although I certainly hope that no U.S. professional athlete (or any others) test positive for banned substances during the Beijing Olympics, the standard sanction for a positive test (which may be reduced or eliminated based on proven mitigating factors) is a two-year suspension from Olympic and international competition in the sport. One wonders how
a U.S. professional athlete's club, league, or governing body would respond if he or she tests positive for a banned substance and raises some interesting questions."
Satisfaction that Beijing has not been wholly sanitized, and the visitor experience to Beijing still has a strong whiff of the real Beijing.
UPDATE: Sneaking an illegal anti-war banner into a women's Team USA game. It's an exciting little tale. (Via Sports NW)