Basketball and Soccer, a European’s Dream…
It’s so hard (cue Boyz II Men) to say goodbye, to Ig-uo-da-laaaaaaaaaa. Sadly, it appears as though this summer will be the last spent with Andre. With the NBA Draft starting tomorrow, rumors are flying all over the place about that man’s destination. The Clippers, the Warriors, even the Lakers??
I, for one, am going to be sad to see him go. Sure, he was never the clutch, high-flying star we all wanted him to be, but he did give you a healthy amount of assists almost every night and played great defense. Was it a mistake to throw super-star money at him and give him the role of leading the team? Of course. Andre Iguodala would show signs of great athleticism every once in a while, but it’s hard to say why it never lasted.
Do I think Andre Iguodala wanted to be the superstar of this team? At times I did. When I saw him in Reebok commercials flashing jewelry I did. When I saw him make a miracle 3-pointer at the end of a regular season game I did. When I saw him play injured throughout the playoffs I did. I don’t know what made him so timid at the end of games when everyone was staring at him to do something. I honestly will never know.
Iguodala was given a role he never fulfilled, and now, hopefully, some other team can absorb his huge salary and give him the role he’s suited for. Maybe he’ll be happier now that the pressure is off. Lord knows he’ll give some nasty dishes to Blake Griffin. So the question is : What do we get in return?
The 76ers have 2 picks in the draft, and both of them practically mean nothing. Aside from several potential picks declining to work out for our crew, the #16 and #50 picks don’t really offer anything to get excited about anyway. There are talks about Monta Ellis coming to Philly with a trade for Iguodala, but there are also rumors about Ellis being traded to Orlando for Dwight Howard, and that’s just plain not gonna happen.
The 76ers are still in talks of selling the team as well. Jim Thorn, the current owner, has already had several talks with “leveraged-buyout specialist” Joshua Harris and their New York affiliates. It looks like it’s going to happen. Not much will change though. Doug Collins is still an amazing coach. We still have an amazing core of young talent that is dangerously close to their prime. We just might not have our “superstar” with us. (single tear.)
It also appears that as lazy Americans, our time to start caring about soccer is approaching. The CONCACAF Gold Cup is down to 4 teams, and the U.S. is one of them! Tonight, we have our semifinal matchup against Panama (Carlos Ruiz’s homeland) to advance to the Finals.
Panama barely made it to the semifinals. After trailing 0-1 throughout most of the quarterfinals game, Panama was able to score in the 87th minute sending the game into overtime, where they eventually won on penalty kicks. I remember reading about that a few days ago and thinking how deflating that must be as the other team. Proving my point even more, I didn’t even bother to remember the name of the losing country or look them up now even though I have resources at my fingertips. I just can’t fathom running around for 85 minutes straight, dominating a game with victory so readily in front of me, and then in the closing minutes having that all stripped away. Aside from maybe throwing an unwarranted interception on 3rd down when your team is minutes away from going to the Superbowl (see Favre, Brett), there are few things that beat that. Especially when you are representing your country.
The important thing to note here is that the U.S. has only lost once in this entire tournament, and it was at the hands of Panama. This is going to be a daunting task for our team. Panama has been knocked out of the Gold Cup the past 3 years by the United States, so saying they’re pissed at us would be an understatement. It should be a great game tonight.
If we make it past Panama, the winner of Mexico v. Honduras will be waiting for us. It’s most likely going to be Mexico. What am I saying? It IS going to be Mexico. They have won this thing 14 times. We have been in the CONCACAF Gold Cup Finals the past 3 years and lost every one to Mexico.
That’s why I’m strongly recommend our amateur soccer fans to watch tonight’s game, as it offers a much higher probability of victory. That’s all we want anyway right? A United States soccer victory. You’ll get a chance to see Clint Dempsey do the John Cena “You can’t see me!!” hand shake over his face after scoring a goal!
Alright gang, until next week….