LONDON, U.K.—The dominance of global competition by the USA men’s basketball team proved a forgone conclusion until Saturday’s 99-95 win over Lithuania. The narrow margin of victory has since revived questions about whether this 2012 team is as good as the record-breaking 83-point victory over Nigeria on Thursday suggested.
Almost immediately after the Lithuania game, as if an explanation was necessary, Team USA reported that every player has been receiving treatment for stress fractures in their palms suffered by the frequency with which they have been high fiving each other after exceptional play. The coaching staff points to the Nigeria game as the tipping point that brought the injuries to an epidemic level.
“You hate it when team spirit becomes a hindrance in an ironic way,” said Team USA coach Mike Krzyzewski, “but I’m confident that these guys will play through the pain. That’s the stuff American heroes are made of.”
Team USA’s training staff has already suggested alternative forms of celebration to speed up the healing process, such as the now popular leaping side-bump and the more traditional and stately hand-to-forehead salute.
One strategic adjustment that Coach K considered was moving University of Kentucky standout Anthony Davis into a starting role. However, Team USA insiders have revealed that the #1 draft pick of the New Orleans Hornets was diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome almost a week before Olympic competition even began. Although Davis remains silent about this condition, Assistant Coach Mike D’Antoni claims that Davis’s Twitter addiction may be the cause.
“We let him keep his laptop with him on the bench so that he can study the game in as many ways as possible, but all he’s been doing is telling his followers how awesome his summer has been. I know because I follow him, too, and he’s totally right.” After D’Antoni admitted that the laptop allowance was his suggestion in the first place, he said, “It isn’t the first bad idea I’ve had; I used to coach the New York Knicks.”
As Monday’s game against Argentina approaches, Team USA has some concerns about the toll that facing an aging but proven Manu Ginobili-led squad will take. The declining depth and talent of the Argentines promises an even scrappier effort to compensate, which will test Team USA before they can attempt to uphold the Gold standard set by the 1992 USA team in Barcelona.
Legends from the Dream Team remain confident that their successors will prevail in the end, but could not help but share an opinion about the 2012 team’s bizarre injury. Charles Barkley, now an analyst on TNT, said, “I ain’t never heard of no injury like that, of a whole team getting hurt from some high fives. It sounds like a joke, a turrible joke.”
NBA Hall of Famer Karl Malone took a more grandfatherly stance, saying, “When we were in Spain, we practiced with little Chinamen hanging off of each arm, in the snow, both ways up the court, until our arms fell off. Then we’d sew them back on and keep playin’. These boys will be fine.”
Michael Jordan, now owner of the Charlotte Bobcats, called the 2012 team’s challenge “trivial.” He went on to say that “I had a tougher challenge than those guys this summer. I scouted these games to find the missing piece that’s going bring a championship to Charlotte. I finally found him in a Nigeria uniform. All I’m going to say is ’82-0.’”