It's been a triumphant few weeks for USA basketball, with the red, white and blue having rolled over the international competition en route to a great final game and ultimately a gold medal in 2008.
But while today's team basks in its glory, the coach of the most disappointing USA hoops team may be making some excuses.
As reported by the New York Daily News' Mitch Lawrence:
"The thing is they got guys that are willing to make a three-year commitment, which I think is tremendous," Brown said of this current Team USA. "We had guys that committed (for 2004) and then all of a sudden 9/11 happened, and then there were injuries."
Perhaps the comment was just an innocuous one meant to praise the 2008 squad, but it still sounds like there is a bit of self-pardoning going on here as well.
No matter what the surrounding factors were, Team USA humiliated itself in 2004. It still likely had the most talent of any team in the tournament, and it played consistently selfish and below par basketball. Larry Brown didn't get his players on the right page, or even the same page for that matter. The players did plenty of complaining and spent too much time concerned with their own minutes, touches and stats rather than playing winning basketball. And the team was a disappointment as a result.
This is the time for USA basketball boosters to be happy with the way 2008 went, but there is no reason to try to gloss over what happened four years ago. It is part of this country's basketball history, and it is in the past, but making excuses only seems disingenuous toward appreciating what happened this season. Hard to see the need for it on Coach Brown's part.