In 2010, Ben Gordon stood proudly at centre court in Liverpool as he held his British passport and a promotional ‘Back British Basketball’ t-shirt stating that he is looking forward to play for Great Britain.
We’re in 2012, and Gordon has still not played a competitive game for Great Britain.
But if you’re updated with the goings-on in British basketball, you will know that this debate goes well beyond August 2010 when Gordon made an appearance during Great Britain’s Eurobasket qualifier with Bosnia & Herzegovina.
The Detroit Pistons guard was meant to make his debut at the 2009 Eurobasket in Poland but decided against it. He missed the next set qualifiers due to his priorities with the Pistons but was hoping to debut in Lithuania last summer.
That changed though when he learned that he was to become a dad – and in life – some things are more important than basketball; being a father is one of them. Shockingly though, some fans were still angered by his choices and in some comments his “excuses” for not suiting up to play.
Earlier this year, Gordon wanted to be the answer to Great Britain’s problems, especially at the point guard position, where GB have a weakness. The majority of the British fans were excited to see Gordon finally wearing a Great Britain vest but en route to Houston for training camp, they had a problem.
Gordon told British Basketball officials that he couldn’t report to coach Chris Finch for the start of training camp. Nearly a week has passed and with three days until Great Britain’s first pre-Olympic friendly against Nigeria in San Antonio due, the high-scoring guard is still absent. Gordon has angered Team GB fans even more by scheduling to make an appearance in Detroit on June 30th at a Jason Richardson charity event.
Rumours surfaced today that Gordon has a seven day deadline to arrive in Texas or he is out of the squad.
Several basketball writers (including yours truly) are doubting his availability for London 2012 though British Basketball’s Performance Director Chris Spice has said that Gordon is training in Detroit at the moment.
That’s the story in a nutshell so far.
The question is though, what reception would Gordon get when he does make his “debut”? Several Great Britain fans have been voicing their opinions on Twitter and a popular message board named WhatsBev saying that Ben should hand back his UK passport and the one comment most seem to be making is what is the point in Ben Gordon only playing for a few games (Olympics) and then never putting on a GB vest again?
While we don’t know what Ben’s long term future is with the national team, what is true right now is that GB fans have had enough and a question must be asked amongst the British Basketball hieracrhy: With Great Britain’s team in Houston working towards a spot on the Olympic roster, would the inclusion of Gordon to the line-up ruin the team chemistry? Would the guards of the team who have worked hard for the past 12 months and more see all their hard work go to waste as Gordon would more or less walk onto the roster?
Sure, they are inexperienced, but from their games with the Under-20’s and the Futures, the effort and the desire is there – something that is questionable with Gordon.
If Gordon were to make his debut, what would be the reaction of the loyal GB fans? A number have already said they would boo him as the viewpoint is that he doesn’t care about the team, the players or the set-up. He can walk on to the side when he feels like it and he is his own boss.
While I don’t agree with the fans’ suggestion of booing Gordon, I do get the sense of arrogance in this matter. What’s more is, the charity event he is supposed to appear at is less than 24 hours after Great Britain’s game with Lithuania in Houston.
Honestly, Gordon needs to get his priorities in order. Either you’re with Great Britain or you’re not. As of right now, at least, he seems to have British Basketball wrapped around his little finger.
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