I don’t know about you, but matchups like Rajon Rondo vs. Ricky Rubio really get me going. And Sunday, when Team USA meets the Spanish national team, those two guys should be the opposing starters. No need for Viagra, guys. I’m already aroused.
I’m not going to break down each player’s strengths and weaknesses, mostly because you already know Rondo in and out and I, like you, don’t know as much about Rubio’s game as I should. But if Rubio’s reputation as an on-court wizard is deserved (and judging from the clip above I’d say that it probably is), Sunday’s exhibition will treat us to two of the best, most unique basketball players the world has to offer. Clear your schedules, take your seat on the couch, microwave a bag of popcorn, kick your feet up on the table and enjoy. It should be fun.
Not only do we get to see Rondo against the best international point guard there is, but as a self-proclaimed student of the game I’m excited to see how Rubio measures up. Of the few doubts I’ve read about Rubio’s game, the most persistent is that he may not be able to handle uber-quick athletes he’ll see in the NBA. If that’s the case (and I don’t know enough about him to know whether it will be), we should be able to see immediately on Sunday: If Rubio’s too slow to thrive in the NBA, I can’t imagine he’ll fare well against Rondo and Derrick Rose. But if he CAN stick with them? If he not only holds his own but plays well? Well, folks, you just might be getting a glimpse of the NBA’s next great point guard. And one who, like Rondo, plays the game with a certain flair, a bravado that makes you think to yourself, “Wow. I’ve never seen someone like this guy before, and you know what? I might never again.”
But really, it’s not just the starting point guard matchup that intrigues (although that matchup certainly helps). It’s the rematch of the 2008 Olympic gold medalists vs. the runners-up (even if not a single player returns from that USA Team). It’s Marc Gasol vs. Team USA’s incredibly thin frontcourt. It’s Rudy Fernandez in his comfort zone. It’s Team USA’s stable of high-flying and versatile youngsters against Spain’s chemistry-filled crew that has been playing together for years, about whom Coach K says, “To watch the Spanish basketball team play, with the way they pass the ball, is to watch beautiful basketball.” It’s getting to see whether Team USA and all its youth is ready to beat the world’s best. It’s the two greatest national teams in the world, battling against each other. Are you not entertained? Is this not why you are here?
Just tune in on Sunday. And before you do, make sure you wish me happy birthday. If you know me well, or even know me at all, you know what I’m most looking forward to on the 23rd anniversary of my birth: Seeing Rajon Rondo play basketball. Is that sad? Probably. Something to be proud of? Doubtful. Weird? Absolutely.
But hate it or love it, the basketball dork is me.