We know, we know…Why is a Tampa Bay Rays website writing about an Olympic basketball event that happened 36 years ago? Well, Joe Magrane is doing baseball color commentary and Jeremy Cummings, a Rays farmhand is pitching for the USA baseball team…Not good enough? OK, If you don’t let us rant on other topics from time-to-time, then we will have to go start a generic sports site and nobody wants that…
If you are not familiar with the 1972 Olympic Basketball controversy, then read this Wikipedia recap. In short, the USA team, which had never lost in Olympic competition was leading the Soviet Union with 3 seconds left. After the Soviets missed a buzzer-beater, they were given about 64 more attempts to score until they finally made a basket. Then one of the referees kicked coach Henry Iba in the groin*.
The US team voted unanimously to boycott the medal ceremony and refused to collect their silver medals. To this day, those silver medals have not been claimed and still sit in a vault in Switzerland.
Now, the reason why we have strayed from our comfort zone…
It is time for the 1972 USA Mens Basketball Team to collect their silver medals and auction them off for charity.
With the 2008 mens basketball squad set to go for gold early this morning (or tomorrow, we still haven’t figured out what day it is in China), this would be the perfect backdrop.
These are the 12 most famous silver medals in history and would certainly be worth hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars if auctioned off individually. Let the team pick one or several charities. We don’t care. But as long as these medals sit in a vault, they are worth nothing.
Also, as far as we can tell, all 12 members of the basketball team are still alive. This is important as at least one of the players has explicit instructions in his will that his heirs are to never collect the silver medal.
We understand the anger. We have seen the replays and still shake our head every time. But there is a chance for the team to turn this negative into something positive. And really, isn’t this what the Olympic Spirit should be about?
Rays Index will now return to its regularly scheduled shenanigans…
*might not have happened