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Saturday, August 09, 2008

Good for Becky Hammon!

Becky Hammon is a US women's basketball player, born in South Dakota, currently on the roster of the San Antonio Silver Stars of the Women's National Basketball Association, where she is the second leading scorer, and leads in assists. Hammon has recently received some criticism for playing for the Russian team in the Olympics.

That's right, the Russian team.

Why? Well, she didn't make the US women's Olympics team, which is no shame, as that group is an extremely talented one, with Sue Bird and Kara Lawson as its point guards -- Hammon's position. (As I write this, they are destroying the team from the Czech Republic by 40 points.) Hammon has played professionally in Russia. Most of the WNBA players have played in more than one country, one reason being that they don't get nearly as high salaries as NBA players.*

I saw Craig Sager interview Hammon a few minutes ago on USA cable TV, as part of its game coverage. He asked about the criticism, and, among other things, Hammon said that she was playing for God first, then country. This web page quotes her as saying much the same thing. Great! Country loyalty is fine, but loyalty to God should come first, whether you are a talented basketball player or not.

Thanks for reading.

*A commenter points out, correctly, that there was some serious financial incentive for Hammon to play for Russia, too, perhaps as much as a couple of million dollars -- it wasn't just for love of the game, and probably not just from a desire to play for someone in the Olympics. The money involved does not, of course, approach the outlandish salaries of some NBA players, but that's another story.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

i am a big fan of becky hammon and admire her game as well as her beauty and think she should be on the team. however before you want her to be a saint also know that there are financial reasons for her joining the russian team also. In the wnba the players roughly make between 50-90 thousand ,( she being near the higher end) while when she plays in russia the other half of the year the get paid well with the oil money. i think her contract is 4 years for 2 million. she did not want to try out for the us team because she was getting shafted AND it would interrupt her schedule for russia and her contract.

there are always two sides of the story

Greg said...

Here is my problem with this: the Russian team should be made up of Russians. The American team should be made up of Americans. Call me a purest if you want. I have no trouble with Hammon going to Russian to play ball or Yao Ming coming to America to play ball. But the Olympics are a different matter. Ming plays for the Chinese team because that is where he is from. Hammon is an American and should not be allowed to play for another team in the Olympics.

If the Jamaican bobsled team wants to train in New York, I don't have a problem with that. But for them to compete for Jamaica, they need to be Jamaicans.

Martin LaBar said...

Thanks, anonymous. I think you are right that money had something to do with it.

Well, Greg, there are some questions about who is an American (or Russian). The flag bearer for the US Olympic team was born in the Sudan, and only became a naturalized citizen in the last couple of years. Does that make him not a real American? I believe Hammon is a legal citizen of both the US, and Russia. Hakeem Olajuwon was a Nigerian who became a U. S. Citizen, and played for the U. S. Olympic basketball team.

Thanks for your comment.

Steve said...

She is a traitor and so is JR Holden.

Rob Rumfelt said...

This is exactly the reason I no longer watch the olympics. Pro athletes instead of amateurs and money instead of love for the sport.

Come to think of it, this is the same reason I no longer watch much pro sports!

Martin LaBar said...

August 11: Traitor? That's pretty strong, isn't it. Depends on how you define traitor, I guess.

Thanks for your comment, Rob. I think most pro athletes love what they are doing, though.