I watched every dribble of the U.S. national team at the World Championship and watched every game that was available to me. I am very familiar with the international game, having been a player for USA Basketball on a select team and having played professional basketball in both the Italian League and the Spanish League.
Like many who have been active in basketball, I have my own opinions based upon my experience and my views on the game. I greatly respect all of the opinions that I have heard, although I tend to disagree with a fair amount of what I have heard and read over the past two months. In my judgment, there are a number of myths and truths that have come out of the World Championship, and here are some of them:
The Olympics are more important than the World Championship
This is a myth -- and a big one. The Olympics and the World Championship are equally important, and the only time one is more important than the other is when you are playing in one. Clearly, the United States has not done well in the World Championship over the years. USA Basketball has won 10 medals at the World Championship, winning gold in 1954, 1986 and 1994. Since a Lute Olson-coached team of collegians won gold in 1986 by beating the Soviet Union, the only U.S. team that has managed to win the World Championship was the second Dream Team.