Thursday, August 14, 2008
Updated: August 15, 5:32 PM ET
Game on! H-O-R-S-E should be an Olympic sport
By Scoop Jackson
Editor's note: Throughout the Olympics, Page 2 writers will argue the merits of including various sports in the Games.
The no-dunk rule killed America's chances of winning a medal, but still, Jason Williams came to play. The creative mindsets of Bobitto Garcia and Larry Ayuso of Puerto Rico made them tough outs in the high-stakes battle of copycat basketball.
Coached by Meadowlark Lemon, the U.S. squad survived pool play, thanks to a half-court hook shot by former Globetrotter Curley "Boo" Johnson in a match against Germany. An unbeaten Ticha Penicheiro of Portugal eased into the medal round by destroying Tony Parker (and Team France) and Kobe Bryant (who went the Becky Hammon route and played for Italy) in back-to-back contests. On the other end of the bracket, Steve Nash of Canada didn't earn a letter in four matchups. He eliminated the United States by beating Chris Paul with a behind-the-back, behind-the-backboard shot the judges tagged with a 6.8 degree of difficulty.
The non-athleticism required for H-O-R-S-E makes it compelling; the ingenuity involved in shot making levels the playing field for countries that don't have an answer to LeBron James in full-court basketball. Nash faces Penicheiro in one semi, while Theodoros Papaloukas of Greece fails to put an end to Argentina's Manu Ginobili's run of two consecutive undefeated Olympics. In the gold-medal match, Ginobili calls for a "sliding on the floor while making an off-the-glass 3-pointer," and Nash just throws up his hands up and takes the E. Ginobili is dubbed the Michael Phelps of H-O-R-S-E.