by Micah Hart
I enjoyed many, many things about the Olympic games this year, but the U.S.-Spain gold medal basketball game was by far my favorite individual event. As a hoops fan, there is nothing better than getting to see the best basketball players in the world playing on the same court, and, unlike during an All-Star Game, actually playing as hard as they can. It’s a thing of beauty, and I give a lot of credit to the Spanish team for bringing out the best in the U.S. side.
Ultimately though, I was left unsatisfied. Why? Because for all their hard work and determination, the members of Team USA leave London with only one gold medal. Why does basketball only give out one medal, when swimming and diving give out 1,432*?
* I may be off by one or two.
If there is one thing that these Olympics have taught me, it’s that there is absolutely no rhyme or reason as to why certain events are included and others are excluded — I’m looking at you, equestrian and modern pentathlon. It’s mostly just because it’s always been that way and people love tradition.
It’s time for some new traditions. Basketball needs to get with the Olympic program and expand its repertoire of medal events. If Michael Phelps can win eight golds in a single games, so should LeBron James.
Here are my suggestions for basketball expansion for Rio 2016 and beyond, as well as gold medal favorites for each:
1. The long dunk. Simple premise – combination of the long jump and a dunk contest. The athlete who dunks from furthest away wins the gold. Haven’t you always wanted to see if someone could dunk from the 3-point line? Here’s your chance to find out. Gold medal favorite: Rudy Gay, or maybe Corey Brewer
2. The high dunk. Like the high jump, you raise the goal after each attempt. Gold medal favorite: JaVale McGee
3. Pop-a-shot. The Olympics features tennis and table tennis, so this event would fit right in. Gold medal favorite: Ricardo the bus boy
4. Marathon basketball. Combination of basketball talent and endurance, it’s a game of hoops where the goals are 1500m apart. First to 3 wins? Gold medal favorite: Kenya, I assume, or Nate Robinson, that guy has a ton of energy.
5. Synchronized dribbling. I’m picturing something along the lines of the Nike Freestyle commercial from back in the day. Plus you’d get to add judges into the mix, and what sport isn’t better when judges are involved? Gold medal favorites: Kyrie Irving and coming-out-of-retirement-for-one-last-shot-at-glory Allen Iverson.
6. Trampoline Dunk. Long a staple of halftime and timeout performances at arenas around the word, you could see some aerial acrobatics here. Plus there could be individual and team events as well. Gold medal favorite: Russell Westbrook
7. Basketball biathlon. It wouldn’t be the Olympics without some iteration that makes absolutely no sense, and since this is my list, I’m making this a combination of Knockout and Tetherball. Gold medal favorite: ME.
What other basketball related events would you add to the Olympic rotation?