But what's missing is ... Amare Stoudemire. Even though Chris Anstey of Australia believes the fear factor is still there ("I think a lot of teams get intimidated by that [U.S.] team"), the truth is, if the intimidation factor was there, none of us would have that feeling in our stomach.
Let me first say this: I think the U.S. team will win the gold this year. Now, with that out of the way, I have no idea what Scoop Jackson is talking about. I know he mentions this in the article, but Stoudemire declined the opportunity to be on the 2008 team. So did Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett; Stoudemire isn't as good as Duncan or Garnett, and I'm sure that Stoudemire is nowhere near as mean or crazy as KG. Wouldn't the team be better off with one of them instead?
I'm fine with the reasoning that the team could use another big man, but really, the team needs Stoudemire to help intimidate other teams more? Granted, the U.S. men's basketball team has always had great athletes who can dunk over the competition. After all, who could forget this dunk? But the U.S. teams of the last few years have lost because they didn't shoot well, play well together, or play any kind of solid defense -- not because they didn't dunk or weren't mean enough.
How about this: the "Redeem Team" needs to play better pick-and-roll defense and hit open jump shots and they'll be just fine. (Just ask the Chinese team.) I'm pretty sure that they have the whole intimidation factor and dunking on opponents' heads thing down pat with Dwight Howard, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, and Carmelo Anthony on the team.
But two more dunks a game by Stoudemire would definitely bring the gold home. Right. His amazing presence really helped the team win bronze in Athens in 2004. Come on, Scoop.