Although I have been down on the Olympics since professional athletes began competing in the 1988 Olympic games, nothing bothers me more than our ridiculous Basketball team. In truth, many of the sports in the Olympic games in which athletes compete have no professional leagues, i.e. skiing, bobsledding, ski jumping, luge, Judo, gymnastics, swimming, diving etc. So in a sense those competitors are all amateurs or professionals. They are the best in their sports, competing against each other. While it’s true that prior to the fall of the Soviet Union their competitors were professionals playing against our amateurs, I preferred it that way. What made the USA hockey team win over Russia and the defeat of Finland for the Gold Medal so special, was there was no way they could win; David vs Goliath. Team USA Hockey in those Olympics put forth the greatest sports victory in the history of the planet and will never be matched. They were a bunch of college kids rallying together to bring home the gold medal against the far superior teams from Russia and Finland. It was the beginning of the resurgence of the USA after some very tough years, concluding the decade of the 70s with the Iranian hostage crisis. All that is great about America was on display at those Olympics on home ice. Then, in 1986, the Olympic committee changed the rules to allow any athlete to compete, beginning with the 1988 winter games in Calgary, Alberta Canada. The 1992 so-called “Dream Team” was the greatest assembly of basketball players ever. They won all of their games by an average of 43 points. Where’s the excitement in that? It was just a ludicrous display and I don’t know how anyone could have been proud of it. Fast forward to the present and everyone is excited about this US basketball team led by Kobe and Lebron, that, by all accounts, should win the gold medal easily. But what’s fun about watching a team that should win, actually complete the task? I fail to see the excitement in that. So again, as in every Olympic Games since the 1988 games, I will not be watching Team USA Basketball. If they don’t win, they would be an embarrassment to the country. If they do win, big deal, they’re supposed to win. It’s our game and we are, or should be, the best. I suppose some people feel good about winning regardless of the circumstances. I am not one of them. The Olympics no longer mean what they once did but I suppose change for the better or worse in this case, is the only constant.