Boston Celtics Head Coach and former NBA player Doc Rivers will be an analyst for NBC’s coverage of basketball in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. He is having an especially busy 2012 because the Boston Celtics season ran into June and he is preparing to go to London for the Olympics. However, he has still had some time to play a number of rounds of golf during what is an abbreviated offseason. He tends to meet his group on the first tee and not practice because if he has a bad practice session, he tends not to play well.
Rivers was a member of the 1982 FIBA World Championship team when he was in college and they lost by one point to the Soviet Union who had professional team members who were also much older than the American players. He supported the idea of including professional basketball players in the Olympics starting in 1992 and that decision changed the game of basketball around the world in a way that is similar to what happened when Arnold Palmer played in the Open Championship in 1960. As further proof of the worldwide popularity of basketball that started with the 1992 Dream Team, the Celtics will actually go to Istanbul, Turkey during training camp.
Spain, Argentina, and Brazil are the three teams that can give the U.S. the biggest run for the Gold Medal in London as all three countries have teams that include NBA players and they are great teams. The U.S. team is a great team as well even though a number of notable American players are not participating. If the U.S. team plays well, they can beat any team but just like in golf if they have an off night, any one country could defeat them.
Rivers feels that the Gold Medal is incredibly important to professional basketball players and young players alike even though the great majority of them would choose to win an NBA Championship before an Olympic Gold Medal. As time has gone on, many young players now want to win both an NBA Championship and a Gold Medal but the Gold Medal will never be the most important thing to an American basketball player. He feels that the same will be true with golfers in that while a Gold Medal will become more important over time, it will never become more important than winning one of the four Major Championships.