10.06.2007

Why I Hate the Olympics

Three simple little words explain why I hate the Olympics, they are: The Dream Team.

There is absolutely no argument that I've heard or read that justifies the use of professional basketball players in a what is billed as an amateur sports competition.

None.

These are professional players who make millions and millions of dollars playing basketball. How, by any stretch of logic, could they be considered amateur? I think its an insult to the spirit of the games that we send pros to play against amateurs. I think its an insult to the spirit of competition and, as a result, my overall interest level in the Olympics registers just above bass fishing competitions. And that's unfair to the other athletes who are truly amateur, who have truly focused their lives on getting to the Olympics and who deserve admiration and respect for their hard work.

For the professional basketball player, its a break from the normal schedule, its another tournament with a new team, its not the culmination of their life's focus, its just another set of games. It diminishes the competition for everyone by having professionals, and easily identifiable and known professionals, playing against amateurs.

I'm sure my point of view isn't helped that I dislike basketball as a sport. But I'd feel the same way if the Olympic Baseball Team was comprised of All-Stars from the MLB. What's the point of an amateur competition when all the players aren't amateurs?

And it isn't like there aren't an absolute legion of college players that could play. There are millions of players to draw from who are also getting shorted of an opportunity to play at the Olympics. So that a bunch of pros can take their spots. How lame.

If the Olympics can return to a truly amateur competition then I'll be alot more likely to pay attention, embrace and enjoy it. But until then, it'll be background noise every couple of years. I like the Winter Olympics though, except for the figure skating which I find tedious to watch. And, so far as I know, there aren't teams being fielded of all professional multimillionaire athletes.

If a professional basketball player wants to go to the Olympics, let him buy a ticket or qualify in another sport. Otherwise, he's just taking a big old ego-sized dump on the games and the spirit they were founded upon.

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