Being in Atlanta for the 1996 Olympics remains the most memorable sporting event I've attented... for now. At that time, I perceived the Olympics as being a very patriotic event. Country vs Country. Participants viewed this as the pinnacle of their athletic career.
The era may have been gone then, but it's safe to say that innocence is gone.
Many events have contributed to my declining interesting in the Olympic Games, but none more than countries handing out citizenship like door-to-door flyers. No sport abuses this quite like basketball.
Ben Gordon and Luol Deng will be competing for England, understandably, as Gordon was born in England and Deng lived their during his later childhood and teenage years.
Germany's recent citizenship acquisition is completely absurd.
Deutschland hasn't qualified for Olympic basketball competition since the Barcelona games of 1992. Solution to the dry spell? Look up NBA players whose grandparents, wait, no, GREAT grandparents were born in the country.
That's right, Chris Kaman has been granted German citizenship just in time for Olympic qualifying competition. The Los Angeles Clippers center was born just outside of Grand Rapids, Michigan, in a town I used to affectionately refer to as P-Dunk, MI. He's American. He's never lived in Europe, and is by no means any more German than you're a citizen of your ancestors decent.
This is absurd. Let's just open Olympic citizenship to ancestors and call everyone unrestricted free agents.
If we were to grant Kaman another land's citizenship, Mars would appear more likely.