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More On the Olympics

There are a number of entertaining side stories to the Olympic gold medal, among them the change in how Kobe Bryant and Dwyane Wade are perceived.Bryant's reputation has been mixed, to say the least, and took a major hit in Colorado when he was accused of sexual (the charges were ultimately dismissed when his accuser decided not to testify).

He's also been seen as a selfish player, a guy who wants to be the focus of his team's offense.  His feud with Shaquille O' Neal didn't help, nor did his arguments with coach Phil Jackson.

He's done a lot to repair the damage to his reputation.

Interestingly, as his reputation recovers, O' Neal's has taken a serious hit, with a woman being granted a restraining order after she accused O' Neal of stalking her.  He allegedly sent a threatening e-mail saying “I dnt no who the [expletive] u think u dealin wit u will neva be heard from one phone call is I gotta make now try me. Sho me.”

Wade took a lot of heat (bad pun) for losing so much time to injuries, but he came back with a vengeance in the Olympics, playing, as he promised, with anger.  He was brilliant.

Then there's the question of who will take over in 2012.  With Mike Krzyzewski's success, a lot of people are pushing the notion of a college coach, which may be amistake. Yes, it gets you out of the NBA mindset, but what made Krzyzewski successful in the Olympics was his ability to get the players to buy into a different concept.  Not every college coach will be able to do that.  The funny part is that when Krzyzewski was picked, the pick was widely panned.  His genius lies largely in communication, and that's not something everyone can do.

However, if we were looking at college guys, we'd look at these:

  • Rick Pitino
  • Ben Howland
  • Jamie Dixon
  • Oliver Purnell

But our guess is that we'd probably go with one of K's NBA assistants.  They've been through it, they know what works, and they know the personalities of the players, many of whom say they want to come back.

Alternatively, there's the option of picking someone recently retired, who still has enough gas left to do the job, but who can also commit himself to it full time. Dean Smith is too old to do it, but he would have been a great choice at a certain point.  Bob Knight is just too volatile to handle a three-year commitment with NBA players. But someone like that, either from college or the NBA, who has the people skills to deal with the players.

Just a thought.

It's also going to be entertaining to see how the NBA handles perhaps their greatest marketing opportunity ever.  When you see the pictures of Bryant being mobbed in China, of the crowds that idolized these players, it's clear that the league has one of the greatest marketing opportunities of all time.  You don't measure the Chinese market in millions, you measure in the tens of millions, perhaps hundreds.  It's staggering.

Finally, there's the Duke/K story.  During the Olympics, even people who detest what Mike Krzyzewski has done at Duke have professed admiration for his masterful handling of the Olympic team, and gratitude for restoring the U.S. to the top of the basketball world.

That's not going to last.

In fact, people are already sniping again.  But big deal.  He did it, and no one can take it away.  Watching people who urged him on turn on him again, that's just part of the carnival.