"White Shadow" couldn't help Turkey as USA wins World Championship Gold

It was very interesting to read how one of my favorite TV shows (White Shadow), helped the popularity and expansion of basketball in Turkey. Their dedication to the game helped them to reach the Finals of the World Championships.

Though the show had modest USA ratings, in Turkey it was a BIG hit.

I implore you to read the article titled, "Turkey Channeled "White Shadow" as Basketball Caught On". A few paragraphs and the link are below:

Turkey’s rapid rise as a basketball power can be traced, in part, to “The White Shadow,” whose 54 episodes appeared on black-and-white TV here from 1980 to 1982.

“It made people aware of basketball in Turkey,” said Alper Yilmaz, a former national team player who works in the front office of Efes Pilsen, a club in Istanbul that has won 13 Turkish League titles since its founding in 1976.

“There was already basketball in Turkey,” Yilmaz added, “but after that show, everyone started playing.”

“ ‘The White Shadow’ effect is real,” Aytac Erenler, a former player at Middle East Tech in Ankara wrote in an e-mail. “It immediately influenced crowds and even made parents look more positively to their children’s passion for shooting a ball to a rim attached to the electric pole on the street for hours.”

The inept attitude and play of the USA over the years at these championships was never surprising to me as we were lazy, unfocused and had a lousy structure. Not any more.

To see our dominance not only in these games but in all areas of basketball (USA holds every world title) is not surprising either because we finally have a system in place that gives us the opportunity to play our best basketball despite the differences in international rules and style of play.

The paragraphs below (followed by the link) tell the story of how times have changed:

Durant’s dominance underscores the larger theme of this American victory. The team came here without a single member of the 2008 gold-medal-winning Olympic team but won in part because of the larger infrastructure Jerry Colangelo has built at USA Basketball since 2006, in the wake of several embarrassing performances in the past decade.

American basketball now holds every major world title — Olympic, world championships, FIBA Under-19, FIBA Under-17, FIBA Americas Under-18 and FIBA Americas Under-16. The United States also qualified for the 2012 Olympics in London and overtook Argentina for the No. 1 world ranking, sealing a renaissance that had been years in the making.

“It’s a tribute to the structure and foundation we have for USA Basketball that we can turn over as many players that we have and be as successful as we’ve been,” said Colangelo, the organization’s managing director.

Krzyzewski’s international record in the period since taking over the team again in 2006 is now 49-1. He completed an impressive triple crown by winning the world championships gold to go with an Olympic title in 2008 and an N.C.A.A. title at Duke in 2010. After losing in his two previous tries at the world championships, Krzyzewski appeared emotional after the victory.

Over the past 16 years, some of my European friends would tease me or give that sly proud smile when the USA went down in defeat time after time. I don't think any of them are laughing now.

I tried to explain to them that if we ever truly cared, got focused and put a plan in place with the proper players, it would be EXTREMELY difficult to beat us despite the location. Being a former Division 1 basketball player, I hope they took my words to heart as my background should have elicited a bit of credibility.

Coach Ken Reeves from the "White Shadow" did a wonderful job of molding his kids and teaching them the game of basketball. Turkey gained a great deal of inspiration from the show and that is a beautiful thing. The rest of the world will need a bit of that "White Shadow" magic in order to take away our title as the World's best.

I wish our competitors well although I have a feeling that we will reign supreme for many years to come.

Happy Gswede Sunday!

The end of a a thrilling practice - my "American Basketball Coach in Sweden" program in 2009.

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