Most analyses of the 2012 USA Basketball Men's Senior National Team — including the one by our Kelly Dwyer — have focused on the strengths and weaknesses that team members bring to the table now, and that makes obvious sense. However, in 2008 we saw that some of the best players in the world can uncover new aspects of their games when the quality of their teammates is so high. For example, it's possible that LeBron James never would have led the Miami Heat to a championship as the fulcrum rather than the point of attack if not for his experience winning gold in Beijing.
On top of that, players learn new things when in close proximity to other stars. Just check out the video above from a Team USA practice, in which New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony teaches a stepback jumper to Los Angeles Clippers dunk artist Blake Griffin. It takes some time for Griffin to get the move exactly right, but Melo stays patient and gives nuanced tips to help him figure it out. And while it's unlikely that Griffin will start hitting this shot with regularity in London, it's possible that this bit of instruction will carry over to Griffin's experience in the NBA.
That might end up hurting Anthony the next time the Clippers face the Knicks. But the Team USA experience is more about friendship and togetherness than rivalries carried over from the NBA. In 2008, the bonds forged during the Olympics helped form the Miami Heat and set the tone for other superteams. It's as yet unclear what will come out of 2012, but this moment between Melo and Griffin proves that it isn't too tough for some of these players to treat each other like teammates and confidantes.
- Sports & Recreation
- Miami Heat
- Blake Griffin
- Carmelo Anthony
- Los Angeles Clippers