When history looks back at Team USA’s gold medal win in Spain during the inaugural
contrived because money FIBA World Cup of Basketball, they will point to a few things. One is the unfortunate loss by the host country during the knockout rounds that prevented us from seeing a USA-Spain final in front of what would have been an awesome home crowd. The other is the dominant (and inspired because of Paul George’s freak accident) performance by Team USA (despite not having top-tier talent like LeBron James and Kevin Durant) led by Anthony Davis, James Harden Derrick Rose, Stephen Curry and FIBA MVP Kenneth Faried Kyrie Irving
But most importantly, we will remember the 2014 FIBA World Cup for giving us the most high-profile Shmoney Dance yet as performed by Team USA while they collected their medals and trophy.
So. Many. Things. To. Love. From. That. GIF.
Irving was having a great tournament in Spain and he saved his best for last, teaming up with Harden to shoot Serbia out of the building with a barrage of three-pointers. In what could be a sign of things to come once Irving returns home and dons the wine and gold of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Irving was magnificent in leading the team, deferring to the hot hand when necessary and shooting if the situation calls for it. Basically, he was doing what Carmelo Anthony does for Team USA (look like a legit star because he has superstar teammates) but better. There are so many candidates from the 2014 FIBA games that could conceivably make the Durant and Rose leap to superstardom; from Davis to Faried to even Harden, but don’t be surprised if Irving – currently the face of the Nike Hyperdunk 2014
because Paul George – is the one that outshines them all.
Pictures courtesy of Garrett Ellwood, Jesse D. Garrabrant and Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno of Getty Images.