Dalembert and the Canadian National Team

24 07 2008

A lot can happen behind the scenes of a sports team.  More often than not, fans like us can’t flip the curtains open and take a real look inside.

Samuel Dalembert’s dismissal from the Canadian National Team is an instance where many will see an opportunity to lash out at an athlete.  Some people will rail against Dalembert for being an “egomaniacal malcontent.”

Find a fresh interview with Sam Dalembert at The Starting Five.  We see his side of the story…

“They kept saying ‘Sammy is late for this. Sammy is late for that.’ I was like ‘dude, I’m never late. You don’t show up for team meal some of the time because you are with your wife.’ If things were mandatory, I should have been given the respect to at least known that. I wish it would have been said to me.”

Dalembert’s dismissal from the national team was accompanied by nothing but a vague question of commitment from coach Leo Rautins.  Here’s another excerpt from an interview with Sam Dalembert…

“Another thing was everything was day by day. There was no set schedule. He would move practices up and wouldn’t tell us until 30 minutes in advance like we had nothing else to do.

There was no communication. I was laughing. I thought this was funny. I wanted to be organized. We have to follow strict schedules in the NBA. Sometimes we had to take cabs to the airport after he said there was no bus, then there was a bus. It was getting irritating. Then I said to myself, that since this is summertime, I was not going to stress myself out. He would tell me that he wanted to make sure I did everything I was supposed to do.

I agreed.  Suddenly, everything was cool. Then we lost a game where I sat out for a long period of time (loss to Slovenia). We didn’t play well as a team.

Everything pretty much fell apart from there. He wasn’t telling me things. Five minutes before we boarded the team bus to play South Korea, He said he wanted to talk to me. We sat down and he said some things that were not true. It got heated, he put his finger in my face. I told him not to do that. I got on the bus. They said the bus wasn’t going anywhere and told me to get off. Coaches asked me to get off, so I did. I waited to hear from them and I didn’t. God as my witness. If I’m lying…”

Now take a look at this article about the Canadian team from the Montreal Gazette via the National Post.  I think that it’s a shame that athletes aren’t given the benefit of the doubt.  It seems like any “report,” regardless of how valid it is, will set the dogs out on these “spoiled, self-centered, loathing, million-dollar athletes.”

Photo credit: AP

Canadian Basketball Faces US National Team

23 05 2008

The Canadian National Team will play USA Basketball at the end of July.

It will be an exhibition game that should double as preparation for the Beijing Olympics. There are only three qualifying spots left, however. How good is a team led by Sam Dalembert while flanked by Levon Kendall, Carl English and Jermain Anderson? Can they beat the likes of Brazil, Greece, Germany and an always surprising Puerto Rico team?

Greece will be ready. They will host the qualifying tournament and their roster is pretty stable. In an interview with FIBA, Dirk Nowitzki stated that reaching Beijing is his dream and it required his team’s entire focus. Nowitzki will undoubtedly be gunning after another disappointing finish to his NBA season.

At the FIBA Americas Championship, these guys went 4-4 with one quality win against Mexico. They dropped decisions to Argentina, USA, Puerto Rico and Brazil — the latter two teams they will have to face in the upcoming tournament.

Brazil will show up with Leandro Barbosa, Anderson Varejao, Nene, Rafael Araujo and the enigmatic Tiago Splitter. That’s nothing to sneeze at, especially in international competition. Things don’t look great for the ol’ Maple Leaf.

National teams already set to dance are Angola, Argentina, Australia, China, Iran, Lithuania, Russia, Spain and USA.