Fans appreciate greatness, even when the games aren’t close
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I don’t buy Dan Shaughnessy’s proposition that the University of Connecticut’s dominance in women’s basketball is bad for the game, based on a preference of fans to watch competitive games rather than blowouts (“Competing theories,” Sports, March 29). I think sports fans really do appreciate greatness. UConn Coach Geno Auriemma compared his team to Tiger Woods, but a better analogy is the 1992 Olympic men’s basketball “Dream Team.”
Like UConn, that team blew out opponents, but fans were thrilled to see Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Michael Jordan, Patrick Ewing, et al., playing together. Some critics expressed concern about the big bad USA playing the bully against smaller, overmatched countries. The average scoring differential was 44 points. But I don't remember players on the losing teams complaining. Who wouldn't want a chance to play against the best in the world? Head coach Chuck Daly compared the team's fan appeal in host city Barcelona to "Elvis and the Beatles."
International basketball improved dramatically after 1992 as a result.
My answer to Shaughnessy: When you see greatness, sit back and enjoy it. It is good for sports.