Red, White, And Arrogant

By Gregory Moore
Updated: June 18, 2008

SAN ANTONIO — What is Patriotism when it comes to the Olympics and a chance at gold? Becky Hammon, the talented point guard for the San Antonio Silver Stars has always wanted to be an Olympian and she would love to be playing for the good ole US of A.

But evidently the 2007 MVP runner up of the WNBA isn’t GOOD ENOUGH for the United States selection committee. USA Basketball didn’t think she was good enough.

So Hammon decided to do something about her Olympic chance at gold; she’s going to play for Russia.

For Becky it’s more about opportunity than patriotism.

She is patriotic in both countries as she has DUAL citizenship to both America and Russia.

For seven months out of the year, she is living in Russia, making a good living.

She’s recognizable.

For her, playing in the Olympics isn’t just about representing your country; it’s about also marketing yourself as a player.

Oh the bastion of those athletes who use the Olympics to get endorsements!!

How dare they!! How dare Becky!!

But wait a minute. What do you think the Olympics have become?

Ladies and gentlemen in case you have not been paying attention, the Olympics as we now know them are nothing more than one big public relations and marketing platform for both the athlete and the countries they represent.

For those countries that become hosts, these games are the ultimate selling point for the tourist industry. But for athletes, especially women like Hammon, this is an opportunity to stretch your endorsement appeal.

Let’s be brutally honest about the WNBA and how it fits into the American landscape; the American sports scene does not want this league in its consciousness.

If Hillary Clinton really wanted to try and win the presidential nomination, if she ran on a platform to where this league would be funded as a way to give women an opportunity to make an impact like the men of the NBA have, she’d probably win hands down.

The women who play in this league aren’t millionaires of this league. They go play overseas and make six figures easy.

“Yes Mary Ann you too can make $500k playing for Russia or Italy if you are that good.”

This should be the slogan for every young lady who wants to be a professional basketball maven.

Evidently its Hammon’s mantra and nobody should be mad at her for it.

Here is what everyone is missing; Hammon didn’t turn her back on the USA; it turned their back on her.

Coach Ann Donovan can stuff her holier than thou attitude about what Hammon can’t do.

Last time I checked, this country allows you to choose things that make you happy.

If Donovan is worried about losing to Hammon and her Russian teammates, then maybe what she should have done was do her homework and put Hammon on the 23-player roster.

There are players on that roster that are of less caliber than Hammon; all the sports gurus know that.

What is being lost is the fact that Hammon wanted to play for this country and now people are calling her a traitor.


So what do you call a country that turns its back on one of its citizens who wants to represent it at the Olympics?

Greed comes to mind. Ambivalence is another.

But how about just plain idiotic from the top down.

If anyone is owed an apology for the actions taken it is Hammon.

USA Basketball screwed this up and that’s nothing new these days.

And to let a talent like Hammon, one of the faces of the WNBA not be on the roster shows the callousness that forced a ten-year vet to pull out her dual citizenship card and go play where she is wanted.

So in essence, who betrayed whom here?