Nigerians, especially its sports officials and administrators to whom responsibility has been entrusted to, have always done harm to the development of the nation’s sporting institutions rather than the otherwise. If the national sporting leaders don’t take cues from the sporting programmes of the Americans and Chinese, then the sporting prowess, talents and passion for which the black race is known for may slowly ebb out of the country.
The performance of Nigerian athletes in the London 2012 Olympics game was a revealer of sorts and the point which glaringly proves that you reap only what you sow was evidently portrayed by Team Nigeria Athletes.
How could Nigeria’s sport officials expect to reap a sporting medal harvest when they haven’t invested any sort of input? They haven’t sown the right seed, but had rather done the otherwise. Yet still, they expected the dividends of sports success which only comes with investments, preparedness and hard work.
This becomes all the more evident when in sports, at times when historic moments are created, the flip side is that someone falls victim or becomes the scapegoat.
So when at the London Olympics clash during which team USA scored the most points ever in Olympic basketball history, it was our beloved Nigeria that was at the bitter end of the tragic story. The fixture, barring a commotion from the Nigerian side was never going to boil down to the X and Y factors.
In all honesty, despite the fact that the US fields the best basketball athletes from the most advanced basketball league in the world. Arguably and a proven fact, their overwhelming talent over the D’Tigers could be curtailed by any sort of remarkable game plan. A stratagem is no doubt needed to successfully compete at any competition or overwhelming failure is reaped. I am sure if you ask Herman Edwards, former NFL coach, he would disagree with me completely.
According to him, “You play to win the game.” However in this case, the winner was never in doubt but with such an astronomical lose, It was worse than degrading.
Well, depending on how the D’Tigers take this loss, their cup could either be half full or half empty. They also had their share of history as well and it wasn’t all bad. Last night was the best offensive night of any African team against the US. For a team that has been struggling to score against lesser opponents, the feat should be commended.
They can either dwell on the big loss or relish on the fact that if they can duplicate last night’s offense and buckle down on defense, they can give themselves a chance to win in their remaining group games.
They still have an opportunity to end up on the right side of history by coming out of group play and they shouldn’t let that opportunity slip away. But my advice to D’Tigers and the entire administrators of the Nigerian Olympic Committee is to take this as a moral victory and use it as motivation for moving forward, putting the right structures in place.
A record-shattering scoring binge for the US NBA Olympic Dream Team2 is bad enough, but what is even worse for American rivals at the time was the idea that the multi-millionaire superstars had yet to peak. The NBA lineup connected on 59-of-83 shots, a staggering 71 percent accuracy rate, with a US Olympic record 29 3-pointers on 46 attempts.
Carmelo Anthony scored a US Olympic record 37 points, aided by 10-of-12 shooting from 3-point range, sinking his final five 3-point tries in a row in 2:05 before being benched midway into the third quarter, the US ahead 100-54. Every US player scored, each half producing 78 points, a new record score for any half in the Olympics.
Mark Adams, the International Olympic Committee communications chief, pondered the idea of whether or not the blowout was good for Olympic basketball given the concern of competitiveness. “I think everyone wants to see good competition,” he said. “In some senses I think it is damned if we do and damned if we don’t.
Also in a show of modesty, US coach Mike Krzyzewski had to defend complaints the US stars tried to humiliate the Nigerians, noting he benched Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Anthony and tried to slow the game down. In his words, he stated that the first thing he did was not play LeBron and Kobe in the second half, the second thing was, even with Carmelo shooting like that, they had to also bench him.
They then didn’t play Durant and didn’t take any fast breaks in the fourth quarter while playing all zone (defense). He claimed players had to take a shot every 24 seconds and that the shots they took just happened to be hits. He reinterated to the world that there was no way in the world that the US program in the United States will ever be out to humiliate anyone. A coach would be humiliated if they didn’t play hard, he posited. To him, the score is irrelevant and their goal was just to play well and win.
Team USA’s record-breaking 156-73 win over Nigeria on Thursday last week at the Olympics featured notable performances, including a torrent of three-pointers and the sort of crushing triumph we tend to associate with the US 1992 Dream Team.
Records were knocked down with extreme regularity, the most eyecatching being the total US score which surpassed the previous Olympic record - the 138 scored by Brazil against Egypt in the 1988 Games. It was the kind of game in which pretty much everyone got in on the fun, because the score was always absurd enough that each player could get his fair share of playing time.
In theory, that would have been particularly good news for Anthony Davis, the most recent top pick in the NBA Draft and clearly the runt (relatively speaking, of course) of this year’s men’s basketball litter. So, as Team USA accelerated to a ridiculous 49-25 lead after one quarter, it looked as if Davis would get his time to shine. Except he didn’t play until the second half, because, as reported by Craig Sager during the NBC Sports Network broadcast, Davis somehow forgot to bring his jersey.
At one point, he even got out of his seat to check into the game before being sent back by head coach Mike Krzyzewski. Davis eventually recovered his jersey and was able to play in the second half, which he started off with an alley-hoop from teammate Carmelo Anthony. With the game secure, Krzyzewski also gave Davis plenty of minutes — he played 15 of the second half’s 20 and finished with nine points.
Below was the record set by the US at D’Tigers expense
Olympic record, total points: 156.
Olympic record, half-time score: 78.
US Olympic record, winning margin: 83 points.
US Olympic record, individual scoring record: Carmelo Anthony, 37.
US Olympic record, three-pointers sunk: 29 from 46 attempts.
US Olympic record, field goals: 59.
US Olympic record, field-goal percentage: 71.
Couple the situation to the glut of medals by Team Nigeria at the current London 2012 Olympics. Then a reality check shows that the last Olympic Games was a wake-up call to Nigeria’s sports development.
The shameful loss ever by any Nigerian team has buttressed the point that until the nation gets it right in the promotion and development of sports in the country, then there might be no respite in sight for escaping such sporting massacres in the future.
Even noteworthy are our Ethiopian neaighours who go all lengths to develop their athletes thereby producing notable athletes such as Gabriele.
Presently, it is noteworthy that except for the police and NSCDC, no governmental organization neither private corporations have done enough to promote and develop sports in Nigeria. I hope the lesson from the US team defeat will send the message to the nations sporting leaders about facing the reality of stirring our sporting prowess for the better.
It is time government officials and relevant bodies listen to the cries of passionate sportsmen in the country who have continuously decried the deplorable state of Nigeria’s sports underdevelopment.