Since the 2012 Summer Games are upon us, and since the Blazers are quite will represented at the games (Nicolas Batum, Victor Claver, and Joel Freeland are competing for their respective national teams; and LaMarcus Aldridge likely would have been on the US squad had he not gotten injured), it's a good time to look at something interesting.
There are only two basketball events in the Olympics--men's basketball, and women's basketball.
The maximum number of gold medals that LeBron and company are eligible for--is one.
Compare this situation to sports like swimming, track and field, and numerous other racing sports, both in the summer and winter games. In these events, there are numerous distances to compete at, numerous styles, and numerous events varying on team composition (individual medleys, team medleys, team relays, etc.)
But in most of the team sports--basketball, soccer, hockey--there's just one team medal for winning a competition in the primary version of the sport.
Who would like to see the following?
* Competitions in other forms of the game, such as one-on-one, two-on-two, three-on-three, or (for old-timers) platoon six-on-six?
* Individual skills competitions such as a three-point shootout, a dunk contest, dribbling contests, H.O.R.S.E., or the like?
* Medals for standout individual performers in the team competition--an MVP gold medal, a Defensive Player of the Games medal, or a medal for the scoring champ?
The same could apply to other team sports. In soccer, we could see competitions around ball control, scoring, or goalkeeping. Likewise in hockey.
But regardless--it's not fair to let Michael Phelps have all the fun. (Even if it seems likely that he's gonna crash and burn this time around....)