(Notes: Fans of other sports, stay with me, the first few paragraphs are all about Basketball)
America doesnt like to lurk in a losing environment....have a look
As the birthplace of basketball the United States had a clear advantage in the early decades of international play. The US men were dominant from the first Olympic tournament held in Berlin in 1936, going 5-0 to win the gold. Throughout the next six tournaments, the United States went undefeated, collecting gold and not losing a single match in the games held in London, Helsinki, Melbourne, Rome, Tokyo, and Mexico City.
Basketball was at a height in popularity...Success on the international stage.....the World was at Americas feet.
Then, one fateful day in the 1972 Moscow olympics the USA basketball team set up a final against bitter rivals in well, everything...the Soviet union.
With three seconds left in the gold medal game, American forward Doug Collins sank two free throws to put the Americans up 50-49. But one official had whistled play to stop with one second remaining after hearing the earlier horn and seeing a disturbance near the scorers table. The Soviets argued that they had requested a timeout before Collins' foul shots. The referees ordered the clock reset to three seconds and the game's final seconds replayed. However, the clock was in the process of being reset when the referees put the ball in play. A length of the court Soviet pass missed its mark, the horn sounded and the U.S. again began celebrating.
But the Secretary General of FIBA, ordered the clock to be reset again at 0:03 and the game replayed from that point. This time, the Soviet's Aleksander Belov and the USA's Kevin Joyce and Jim Forbes went up for the pass, and Belov caught the long pass from Ivan Edeshko at the foul line, sending the two Americans sprawling. Belov then drove to the basket for the layup and the winning points as the buzzer sounded. Team USA packed a sad a to this day their silver medals sit in a bank vault in Switzerland.
USA won 1976 then boycotted 1980 because the Soviets, were.....Soviets. Another hollow win in 1984 after the communist countries boycotted. Since Basketball lowered greatly in popularity and Americans started to shift their focus to the NBA. In 1992 the Dream Team won the Olympic basketball tournament with an average margin of victory of 43.8 points and without coach Chuck Daly ever using a timeout. And the world and america was excited with Basketball again.
The 1996 olympics consisted of players of which on Shaquille O'Neal is still playing, half that squad is coaching or GM etc...1998 world champs during the lockout saw the "dirty dozen" capture the bronze.
The USA won the gold medal against France in 200 Sydney olympics in a very close game, 85-75. Though the US went undefeated on its way to the gold medal, for the first time the team began to lose its aura of invincibility. Americas fell out of love with basketball again. In 2002 Team USA finsihed sixth. New Zealand finsihed higer than Team USA...America well and truly lost interest in Basketball.
The vulnerability of the 2004 team was confirmed when Puerto Rico defeated them 92–73 in the very first game of the Olympic tournament in Athens. It was only the third Olympic basketball defeat ever for Team USA and the first for an American team composed of professionals. The 19 point defeat was the most lopsided loss for Team USA in the history of international competition, suggesting that the level of international basketball had caught up with that of the United States.
Now I aint saying it's the main reason, but I see a pattern with Americas success on the world stage and americas love affair with Basketball.
Ice Hockey is a sport that used to big (not that big, but it was big) in America but in modern times have fallen out greatly. Also, USA lost on more regular basis to Canada and european teams that now beat America pretty well.
Baseball just had it's first official "World Classic" where countries competed to be worlds best. America did not even finish in the top four...Japan won. But Steroids is a bigger issue there....and the Steroid issue has seen Baseballs overall popularity plummet.
Now, let me put this out there....In 10 years Germany, Canada and some other European countries want to compete against the likes of America, in a world champs of sorts. For the first 30 years or so, America dominate and win easily. Then it gets tougher, until the world is on level pegging with America...then one day (maybe in 50-60 years time) Canada defeats America....America falls out of love with football.....
I put a lot of questions and opinions out there....feel free to comment on anything written.....(even if it's just a sentence....