Kobe: Don’t Fall for Spain’s Mind Games
One by one, Spain’s most familiar NBA faces stopped to chat with the small group of American reporters traveling with Team USA before the Olympics, each of them sounding as though they just left a mind-games briefing with San Antonio’s bluff-loving Gregg Popovich.
Marc Gasol on Tuesday night’s Spain-USA showdown here at the Palau Sant Jordi: “I think it’s going to be a good test, but I don’t think it’s going to determine who’s better or not. … I don’t think we’re going to try it all [strategy-wise Tuesday].
Jose Calderon: “I think both teams are going to try to [use] different lineups, going to try maybe different stuff, but at the end of the day you know you’re not going to show a lot of things to the other team. You’re not going to have a medal if you win or if you lost [Tuesday]. You know what I’m saying?
And Pau Gasol, newly installed as Spain’s flag-bearer for the opening ceremonies, referring to Los Angeles Lakers teammate Kobe Bryant: “He doesn’t like to lose against anyone, but I’d like to maybe let him win tomorrow and maybe beat him in London. That would be ideal.”
If you believe any of that, then Tuesday’s specially arranged warm-up game to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Dream Team’s historic domination of the Barcelona Olympics will be the sort of don’t-show-your-cards affair that would make Popovich proud.
Kobe says listening to any of those Spaniards is a major mistake.
“I can’t believe you’re falling for that,” Bryant said. “They’re at home, man. They have to play us [hard]. You think they can just come out and lose in front of their own fans?”