never rat on your friends, and always keep your mouth shut

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

I got a little misty

You all might get a kick out of this.


Bench said...

You lost me at "Truckin." Is Bill Walton just in this documentary cause he liked the Greatful Dead? At least the Soviets weren't hippies.

CZA said...

I was unprepared for the Grateful Dead and Walton's teeth. I didn't watch all the way to the end, but I would have liked some reference to "but damn, our athletic training benefitted from our place in the soviet system." Unless there was some secret basketball fortress, where a properly pure and nationalistic form of special basketball was taught, free from the taint of Moscow.

Moacir said...

@bench Walton is good friends with Bob Weir (from the Dead) and with Šarūnas Marčiulionis, who played for the GSW. He was, as a result, a sort of bridge between the Lithuanian national team and the financial support the team received from the Dead. Their coaches in Barcelona also had connections to Golden State.

@CZA I read commentary about this project that worried that it would be a "US-centric" Cold War drama, kind of like how you imagine it. The director is a guy my age who was born in LA, so it's entirely possible that there will be a distinct lack of nuance over the quality of the Soviet system.

OTOH, Lithuania was a powerhouse of basketball *before* it was occupied by the Soviet Union (google Frank Lubin), and it was already part of the sporting culture when the tanks rolled in. That certainly continued even during the Soviet era, when Žalgiris was consistently one of the best clubs in the USSR. So unless I misunderstand yr point, the structure to create (not nurture/identify) young basketball talent did preexist the USSR. I doubt Lithuanians are any taller, on average, than Russians or Latvians, yet they were the key players on the '88 gold medal team in Seoul and with a much smaller population have kept pace with Russian medalling in the sport.