Everyone that knows me is well aware of my passion for basketball. After my family it comes second to nothing else. Yes, I am also a rapper but that's only because the basketball think didn't work out. I love it entirely, from H-O-R-S-E to 1-on-1 to 5-on-5 full court. Unconditionally.
Growing up in America, basketball season was from October to March (June for the NBA) and then it was baseball season. I was never exposed to watching basketball in the summer, mainly because the USA team had most of the summer free. By winning the Olympics or the World Championships the USA usually had the luxury of skipping qualifying tournaments and things like that. I might get to see a couple of "friendly" games against Puerto Rico or Brazil, but they usually ended in blow-outs. Since I've moved to Germany, the summer has been a basketball showcase that I wouldn't dare miss. The chance to see all of these great NBA players return home and be a star for there respective teams have been nothing less than sensational, with the exception of Turkey. I am stunned that a team starring Okur and Turkoglu can't do more. I don't expect them to win the championship but even Dirk Nowitzki lead Germany to a silver in the European Championship in 2005. Germany! Kirilenko and Russia actually beat Spain in 2007 and walked away with the Gold (that was an excellent game by the way). I'm not saying they are as good as my boy D-No, as we all know he's the greatest European player in NBA history, but it's two them. Turkey also has Ersan Ilyasova who is on the Milwaukee Bucks roster. I've never seen him play but I understand he's pretty good. I just expect more from them.
If I was the owner or coach of an NBA team, the summer would make me nervous. I wouldn't even be able to enjoy Aruba or Tahiti as much as one should because I would be worried about injuries.
Take Ginobili for instance. He seems to start every NBA season with some sort of ailment, some nagging injury. And in the case of last year he never recovered. How much does he get paid again? $10mil per season. I'm not fond of my returns for such an investment if I am the Spurs' owner. $10mil for nothing. It's painfully obvious that SanAntonio's championship hopes rest on Manu's shoulders. Parker and Duncan or of course equally important, but remember when Ginobili was healthy a few years ago, he was regarded as the second best shooting guard in the NBA after Kobe. And he was coming off of the bench. I don't care what team you are, missing the second best shooting guard in the entire league will hurt your championship aspirations.
I'm not picking on Manu though, I like him. He's the greatest South American player in NBA history. He's not the only one that has been injured in the summer and not able to start the NBA season. It' happened to Dirk, Pau and Kirilenko as well. That's why Dallas is not allowing Dirk to play for Germany this summer. I don't know if I agree with teams not allowing players to compete for their country, but I definately understand it. Tony Parker and Pau Gasol have already been bitten by the injury bug this summer. Tony Parker turned his ankle a few weeks ago and had to fly back to SanAn to have it checked out. Luckily it was only a sprain and he was back up and playing the next weekend. Pau Gasol had to have surgery on a jammed index finger just last week and is listed as probable for start of training camp.
As much as I love basketball, I can do a few months without it. I, too, may be able to rest a little easier knowing that my teammate Pau is chilling with his family on Mallorca instead a banging down low with these physical Europeans. But that's basketball, there's always that risk and as I said earlier, I love basketball unconditionally.