Setting aside the legitimate horror that has been brought upon Rio de Janeiro and the country of Brazil in the lead up to the 2016 Summer Olympic Games, let’s try to keep our sights on what’s important here: there is some high level international basketball to be played. What fun.
The full schedule for the men’s basketball event can be found here, starting on August 6th.
The games, which is usually noteworthy in a “let’s see how Team USA crushes everyone this time” kind of way, are special to Raptors fans for a specific reason: three of our guys will play for their home countries! (Sadly, Canada, our home country, will not be represented at this Olympics; let’s try not to dwell on that and just assume it’s for the best to not expose Andrew Wiggins to toxic sewage and the Zika virus.)
Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan (the newest surprising viral star) are both featured for the first time on the latest iteration of Team USA. In lead-up exhibition games, the pair have taken turns doing fairly ridiculous things on the court — like throwing cruise missile alley-oop passes and trying to unsettle a world power. They’ve fit right in.
Meanwhile, not to be outdone (but so far, mostly outdone), Jonas Valanciunas is gearing up to push his home country of Lithuania into that rarefied medal air. The Land of Sabonis last won a medal in 2000, grabbing bronze. As for Jonas, the last time he was even at the Olympics was 2012, and he was but a babe in the woods then. Now, as we’ve already highlighted on this very site, JV is ready for the big time. Please watch again here as he roughs up no less than the man mountain himself, Nene:
Small sample size, a big man on the down slope of his career, an exhibition game — all true facts. But still, Valanciunas is feasting and it is exciting to watch.
Now, let the (horribly compromised and disturbing) games begin!