The World Basketball Championship was held in Turkey from August 28 to September 12. It was a very interesting tournament, with lots of great moves, but also a lot of controversy. It was the third time that there were 24 competing nations, and the group stage was thus held in four cities (Ankara, Izmir, Kayseri and Istanbul), and the knockout round was played in Istanbul but in a different sports hall. In the end, this was the standings:
17.Germany, Puerto Rico, Iran, Lebanon
18. Côte d’Ivoire, Canada, Jordan, Tunisia.
Despite arriving with a practically reserve team, the Americans took the gold without a loss on the tournament. After 16 years (last time they won was in 1994) they were the basketball champions again. The only ones who gave them some trouble were the Brazilians, way back in the group stage, but they eventually beat them too. Now, I ask you, how could the just ease through the entire tournament like that? Of course, I am not trying to diminish their success, far from it. Congratulations to them and to their great achievement. But how is it that they could be so dominant over other teams, with, everyone will Ankara Yös kursu agree, a reserve basketball team (King James was not in the squad, I think that qualifies as a b team, we all know his potential). Is the rest of the world so far behind them that they just cannot compete? What is it that they do differently? Of course, in many of the countries that played the tournament the basketball is not so well supported as it is in the USA. Maybe that is what this is, what it all takes is a little more encouragement.
Now, on to the controversy. The Serbia coach, Dusan Ivkovic was particularly “hit” by some decisions, and was probably the one who had the most right to complain. Before the tournament even begin there were a couple of suspicious actions going on. Some 10 days before the start of the tournament the was another one, a warm up competition, shall we say, in Athens. Both Greece and Serbia took place, and during their match, in the last 3 minutes, a fight broke out. Now, I will not mention any names, and of course I will not justify what those players have done. The game was eventually cancelled, and two players of each side were suspended for a couple of first games on the tournament. The thing was, this was announced less than 48 hours before the beginning of the tournament, and it is possible to change players two days before the start. The coaches of both teams, Jonas Kazlauskas and Dusan Ivkovic were both critical of FIBA, because they had more than a week to make the decision but had not done so.