Sunday, August 31, 2008

International/Domestic, what do you think?

In a rather exciting development, the Dominican Republic has advanced far enough in the Centrobasket tournament to qualify for next year's Tournament of the Americas. This news is particularly exciting because if they perform well in the Tournament of the Americas, the Dominicans would qualify for the FIBA World Basketball Championships in Turkey in 2010. While old powers are always fun to watch, I find it exciting to see new teams in the top world competitions, so this is a big development.

The Dominican Republic this year is led by two NBA players, Francisco Garcia and Al Horford. Garcia is a pretty good player, and Horford is a future all-star, so it's not a huge shock that the Dominicans are succeeding in Centrobasket. What caught my eye about the story, though, is this throwaway line: "Of course, there has been talk Horford could be asked to get his American passport and join Team USA, in which case the Dominican's advancements would be for naught." Now, Al Horford has every right to play for whatever country he wants to, and he's certainly a good enough player to play on top teams including the United States. But as a fan, I find myself getting more excited about greater competition and cheering for smaller countries that are led by familiar NBA stars.

So, what do you think? If the player himself were happy to play for either team, would you rather see one or two dominant teams rolling over the competition, or would you like to see players such as Horford (or Hakeem Olajuwon back in the day) lead smaller countries to competitiveness and possible upsets?

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