August 27, 2010
Say what you want about the players of Team USA — they're too small, they're too young, they're not talented enough to win the FIBA World Championship and on and on — but you must admit the amount of talent in the program is astounding. Not only is the United States able to field a competitive team filled with rising stars, but there exists another whole team that is filled with the best players in the world. That is kind of amazing, and it's the reason that some less talented players choose to play for countries where the barriers for entry aren't so high.
One such NBAer is the Detroit Pistons' Ben Gordon(notes), who is vowing to join Great Britain's national team next summer. Born in England before moving to the States as a 10-month-old, Gordon will team up with Luol Deng(notes) and Pops Mensah-Bonsu(notes) as they try to lead their national team to the 2012 London Olympics. In fact, if it weren't for a surgically repaired ankle that needs rehabilitation, Gordon would be with the team now. And while he's been in America for a great majority of his life, Gordon's looking forward to being a Brit for one very specific reason — the food. From the Detroit Free Press' Mark Woods:
"I don't feel very British," he said in Liverpool, where the Great Britain team beat Bosnia on Thursday night to qualify for next summer's European Championships. "But there are a lot of great memories. Of different chocolates and the food. I remember eating fish and chips out of newspaper. I love British chocolate. It's the best chocolate."
Hey, joining another national team because they have great food is as good of a reason as any, as far as I'm concerned. Even though if that's the reason players are making the switch, I'd think you'd see a lot of players gunning for Mexican or Italian citizenship.
Sure, there are probably other more important reasons that Gordon would want to play for the British national team. You know, like his family that lives in London or the fact that he used to visit his father overseas every summer. But really, when he's talking about joining the team, he seems most excited about getting back to fish and chips out of a newspaper. Ben Gordon isn't getting a Team USA invite any time soon, so he might as well take a summer to chill with his extended family, get some international exposure and munch on some British chocolate, which is the best chocolate according to a total chocolate connoisseur.
Of course the real tragedy in all of this is that the Cheesecake Factory hasn't yet established itself as a sovereign nation. They could easily field a team to rival the legendary 1992 Dream Team. I'm sure NATO isn't busy, so let's see if it can help expedite that process.