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Beijing 2008: Life and career of Becky Hammon
US basketball player, Becky Hammon would have played for her country at the Beijing Olympics, but, she was disqualified by the US basketball team. So, she decided to play for Russia. Nonetheless, her services to US basketball will remain matchless
THE BBC programme ’World Have Your Say’ dedicated a segment to athletes who renounced their allegiance to their home countries in order to play their favourite sports in the Beijing Olympics. One of the athletes who did that was the South Dakota native who played basketball for the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) and was named the All American. Her name is Becky Hammon.

Hammon has paid a price in being criticised by the WNBA elite, including a certain Anne Donovan (with her antiquated cold war accusations of treason even though she is the coach of the US women’s basketball team).
She was born on March 11, 1977 and started her basketball career playing in the Rapid City Stevens High School Raiders. During her years with the Rapid City Stevens High School Raiders, she was named South Dakota Miss Basketball in 1994 as well as Gatorade South Dakota player of the year in 1995.

After graduating from Rapid City Stevens High School Raiders, she went to Colorado State University. During her time at Colorado State University, she was one of the people instrumental in its first NCAA tournament appearance in 1997 followed by the Sweet Sixteen Appearance in 1999. Her list of accomplishments at Colorado State University includes the following within the category of offence: 2,740 points; 21.9 points per game; 9.18 field goals and 5.38 assists.

She finished her studies and basketball career at Colorado State University and became a member of the New York Liberty. She was able to participate in every playoff and two WNBA Championships (1999 and 2002) during her association with the New York Liberty before switching to the San Antonio Spurs. She had been involved in cervical cancer awareness with the WNBA and raised funds for Katrina Victims (American Red Cross) in the television game show programme called Wheel of Fortune.

Hammon wanted to compete in the Beijing Olympics-2008 playing basketball. She went through the motions by consulting and practising in all of the tryouts for the US basketball team. She was not good enough in the eyes of one of the elite of the US women basketball team called Ann Donovan. After receiving all of the rejection slips from the US basketball team, she decided to practise globalisation and play for the Russians. She also signed a contract in which she could play for a Russian basketball team. Ann Donovan and many so called people who use patriotism to hide their cold war fantasies called her a traitor.

I consider Hammon an American legend who wants to live the American dream of playing basketball. I would like to defend the decision of Hammon to play in the Olympics for Russia.

Olympics is about participating in sports without the politics and ideologies ruining the game. It is unfortunate that a group of people has to ruin what should be the historical sporting event for the year 2008. It is also fashionable in this ever globalising world that players can cross frontiers and play for other teams without sacrificing their loyalty to their country.

It is not the fault of Hammon that she wants to play basketball for the Olympics. It is her right and if a team has signed her to a contract to play, it would be good for her and for the United States of America as a whole. Maybe, the Anne Donovans of the day may get away with their comments because of the envy they carry within them but in the end, Hammon will carry the day.

I predict that in the next five decades when the 2008 Beijing Olympics will be in the history book, Hammon will be remembered on a postal stamp in the United States postal service for her services to basketball and to her nation regardless of whether she played in the USA or the Russian Federation.

I would also take advantage and criticise some of the members of sports associations in America who actually sign talent from other countries and resolve their paperwork while the local talent in America remains on the sidelines. Though USA accepts sports personalities from other countries, Anne Donovan appears to practise what is a sheer hypocrisy. The United States Women Basketball Team should take a look at their way of recruiting their athletes for the Olympics. After all, it is not fair that the best in the majority of cases are not accepted or are sidelined.

My advice to the Anne Donovan in the United States Women Basketball Society and in America is that the cold war is over, the Olympics is a sporting event and Becky Hammon is a jewel that the United States did not appreciate. If you do not like the idea, just state your opinion and reason or forever hold your piece. I wish Hammon the best in her endeavours. She remains in my heart and soul the top 2008 WNBA basketball player as well as the all American and South Dakotan girl who has managed to conquer the world. I also give her a gold medal for being the true all American.
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