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RandBall: Minnesota adopting Russian hoops team in Olympics

  • Blog Post by: Michael Rand
  • July 30, 2012 - 9:59 AM

 

Andrei Kirilenko dominated Great Britain on Sunday. /AP photo

Andrei Kirilenko dominated Great Britain on Sunday. /AP photo

Minnesota's pro basketball teams account for four of the 14 Olympians with deep ties to this state who are competing for Team USA. They also account for a combined one-sixth of the entire rosters of Team USA's men's and women's teams (4 of 24). And, to be sure, Minnesotans are definitely infatuated with the play of Kevin Love, Lindsay Whalen, Seimone Augustus and Maya Moore.

 

That said, they seem overwhelmingly intrigued by two other pros with recently announced local ties who are competing -- and thriving -- for Russia's men's team.

We will focus in on one specific online comment from Jim Souhan's entertaining column from London, but it is reflective of an overall sentiment. From a commenter named manolive:

What a game today! I was cheering for the Russians as if they were my team. Kirilenko had a fantastic game. He lived at the rim. Wes Johnson would have been standing behind the line the whole game, waiting to jack up another clanker. What a difference! Those who questioned the wisdom of the Wes Johnson trade now have nothing to question. Spectacular signing. I'm so glad the Blazers saved Kahn from himself, and kept Batum. And Shved! The Russian Rubio! The only difference is that Shved can shoot. He was equally spectacular. The NBA and basketball fans around the world are in for a treat next season, and I for one cannot wait for winter! When is Russia's next game?

This is classic Minnesota, loving the new guys and getting (overly?) excited about one game against an inferior opponent. That said, it is also tons of fun to think about how these two guys will fit in with Love, Ricky Rubio (who would be playing for Spain if he wasn't injured) and the rest of an interesting Wolves roster. It is also quite interesting to see the international world order that allows us to root for Russia and Team USA at the same time. It's not quite the Miracle on Hardwood, but it is something.

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