From ‘dream team’ to nightmare

Ha! Double-ha! And a third one for emphasis.
I’m still in hysterics over the performance the U.S. men’s basketball team brought to the games of Athens—and the result that suitably followed.
They went into the 28th Olympiad with an all-time record of 109-2 and were undefeated since 1992, when the professionals of the National Bunko, (cough) excuse me, National Basketball Association were allowed to compete.
But the kings of the basketball world are now the jesters of the court.
They lost three times (THREE TIMES!) in the eight-game tournament, and left from Athens to their extravagant mansions with their six-car garages filled with luxury vehicles with a bronze medal tucked neatly underneath their endorsed socks and, in some cases, their endorsed underwear.
The first “Dream Team” of 1992, which consisted of basketball gods like Michael Jordan, Larry Bird and Earvin “Magic” Johnson, scored 938 points in eight games (117 pts/game) while holding the opposition to 588 points (74 pts/game).
The second team of 1996, with key players like Charles Barkley and David Robinson, didn’t do as well, scoring just 816 points over that same span while the opposition amassed 562.
Four years ago, Sydney’s team—featuring Vince Carter and Kevin Garnett—did even poorer (or by now was the world catching up?). They flushed the net for 761 points while their opponents netted 587.
And then there was this team.
With players like Dwayne Wade Jr. (who?), Amare Stoudemire (say again?), Carlos Boozer (boozing what?), and Lamar Odom (odometer?), the 2004 version of the “Dream Team,” except for a few recognizable names, consisted of players young enough to still be dreaming of the original “Dream Team.”
If you look at previous stats, which we’ve done, and look at this year’s figures, which we’re about to do, and pull out your Transformers’ calculator and punch in the data, you would find that the original “Dream Team” was 9.5 times better than this year’s version.
But here’s the funny, but ridiculous, thing about the Athens’ “Dream Team.” I’ve double- and triple-checked the figures and here it is.
Are you ready? Come closer. Closer. Now I need to whisper because even I can’t believe it—these 12 guys are making over three times more than the “Dream Team” of 1992.
Who knew that its pays to underachieve?
If you add up the salaries of the 12 players that made up this team, they’re salaries for just next year, that’s right, next year only, comes to (drum roll and envelope please . . .) $57,148,727.25 U.S. (which makes it around $1 billion in Canadian currency).
I don’t know how the 25 cents comes into play, but isn’t that the most outrageous figure you’ve ever seen. And that doesn’t even include their endorsement deals, which would tack the gross national product of Sierra Leone onto the total.
Do you realize what you can buy with that much money? Why, if one were so inclined, and if one had no life, you probably could figure a few things out (I guess that makes me a volunteer).
With $57,148,727.25 at your disposal you can purchase:
•“Nude in a Black Armchair” by Picasso (a really nice painting worth $45,102,500) as well as four luxury king mansions in Bodrum, Turkey (I hear it’s great there this time of year);
•200 Lamborghini Miuras (a shiny car pumped at $192,759.83), along with 19 Ferrari F40 LMs (an even shinier car at $986,388 a ride);
•20,000 copies of Amazing Fantasy #15 (first comic book featuring Spider-Man at $2,000 apiece last time checked on eBay), as well as 11,432 Bugs Bunny 1973 original drawing strips (Ah, what’s up doc? Salaries, that’s what);
•Shoeless Joe Jackson’s Black Betsy bat (sold at Sotheby’s for $577,610) and 36,734 bottles of 1997 Dom. de la Romanee Conti (tastes really good with spicy chicken wings);
•a brand new 50,000-seat outdoor grandstand in Omonia Square in Athens with a basketball court set up in the middle, and pay Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, and Larry Bird to play against you and your two best friends in a best-of-seven series, with the losers having to carry the winners around the court for 15 minutes on their shoulders—and pay them $20 million to make sure they throw the games;
•one year’s accommodations at the luxurious Athens Grand Resort Logonissi ($25,639/night, which doesn’t include a mint on your pillow) and have enough left over to get almost six percent ownership of the Queen Mary II (a really big ship worth $800 million, where the players stayed during the games after the Olympic Village committee forgot to order the XXXXL mattresses); and
•with 90 of your friends, each with their own 2004 Enzo Ferrari ($625,000 apiece) and each wearing a Versace silk suit ($8,870 apeice), drive to a local Red Lobster and order 450 bottles of Kokanee Gold ($4.75 each), 900 shots of rye ($5.25 each), 150 orders of calamari ($15.95 each), 450 more bottles of beer, 1,000 shots of vodka, pay for a night’s entertainment by Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band, and still have enough left to leave a well-earned $35 tip to the server).
And to think, with all that money and with all the things you can do with it, the Americans still couldn’t buy a gold medal in Athens.
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