The Team USA trend seems to be letting teams (not from Nigeria) hang in there for a half and then a USA individual will catch fire and hit a bunch of three pointers in a row which will spark the team to win by a huge margin. A week ago we saw Carmelo go en fuego and break records then we had Durant looking like he was back at Rucker Park then it was LeBron and yesterday we had Kobe show up in the 2nd half to score 20 points against Australia.
Watching Australia helplessly hope Kobe would miss a shot reminded me of my personal favorite shooting exhibition I ever saw which happen to take place in USA vs Australia game in 96 but it wasn’t Reggie Miller or Mitch Richmond hitting the shots. The marksman that day was Australia’s 6 foot Shane Heal who scored 28 points, hit eight 3 pointers and got into 1 chest bumping shove match with Charles Barkley. Unlike many of the NBA Jam like performances we have been seeing recently, Shane Heal’s 3 pointers were mainly heat checkers that he shouldn’t even be taking. Each one was more of head scratcher than the previous but in the end it was a 118 – 77 win for the USA.
Shane Heal would eventually end up playing a couple seasons in the NBA along with 2 more Olympics and 15 season in the NBL where he was an 8 time All Star and once scored 61 points but it’s his performance against the Dream Team 3 and altercation with Barkley that people remember. When asked about Barkley Heal sounded shocked.
“I idolized him,”
“He was awesome. He turned out to be a good bloke.”
“They were pretty arrogant, though, and didn’t have a lot of respect for us.
“We were looking forward to playing against them but at the same time we said we weren’t going to take a backward step.
“The Dream Team disrespected us and tried to bully us a bit and we stood up for ourselves and it got a bit heated.
“It was a lot of fun.”
“I reckon someone would ask me about that every second day,” Heal said.
“It amazes me – it happened in 1996 – that people still want to know about it.”