FIBA WORLD CUP VIEWING GUIDE FOR OREGONIANS AND LOVERS OF THE OREGONIAN LIFESTYLE

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I can barely walk down the street these days to enjoy an open-air donut without some person yelling over at me, “Hey! You with the donut! The FIBA World Cup is starting soon! Whooooo! I love basketball and the Earth! But I’m a Portland Trail Blazers fan and I don’t know which country best reflects my basketball values! Rooting for America feels too mainstream for my lifestyle and a bit too casually nationalist! I mean sure, I like living in America and I eat tofu hot dogs on Fourth of July and real hot dogs when I’m drunk! But I always vote for the Green Party in elections! Except in elections when I actually care and need my side to win! And by the way, why doesn’t Cascadia have its own independent FIBA-recognized squad yet?! We have the lumber industry to support it! I just love basketball and the Earth and lumber! What do I do?! Enjoy your donut!”

“Well, child,” I say. “You asked the right fucking donut. Check my blog.”

Welcome to said blog. Now place your hand in mine and let me guide your emotional and spiritual journey into the 2014 FIBA World Cup.

First, you should absolutely not root for America. America wouldn’t even root for America. Well, maybe some parts of America would root for America, like the Steak N Shake parts. Steak N Shake’s America would root for America. But did you know that George Washington famously hated Steak N Shake? “That menu is like if Carl’s Jr. had an even sloppier descendent named Carl III, who put ‘Steak’ in the name of his restaurant to make it sound fancy to yokels who get dressed up to go to the hot dog stand outside Home Depot,” he would tell Martha.

George Washington, Whitney Houston, the old guy in Shooter who calls Mark Wahlberg “gunny,” the red-white-and-blue bald eagle in the Dipset logo, and everything else this country is built on would call bullshit on Coach K for cutting Damian Lillard to keep Kyrie Irving and generally Coach K’s hypermilitaristic approach to basketball. Guys, Coach K rode into the arena for the last game on a white horse, dressed like Stonewall Jackson. Then he brandished a saber and stabbed two fans. There’s no place for that.

So who should you root for? Unlike Coach K, I’m not here to mold your brain into my own image, but I will lay out the brief cases (curated to appeal to Oregonian minds) for each country below.

[IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: I DON'T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT THESE COUNTRIES. I'M PRETTY SURE THAT THEY'RE ALL ACTUALLY PART OF WYOMING. I DROVE THROUGH WYOMING ONCE AND THE BIGGEST CITY IS CHEYENNE AND IT DIDN'T SEEM THAT BIG AT ALL. THEY GOTTA HAVE MORE IN THAT STATE THAN JUST CHEYENNE AND A MUSEUM WITH A PAIR OF SHOES MADE OUT OF HUMAN SKIN. THEY'RE HIDING SOMETHING. LIKE POSSIBLY SENEGAL AND MOST OF WESTERN EUROPE.]

Angola

Angola spelled backwards is alognA.

Argentina

Argentina is sailing to Spain for the tournament on a giant barge called Bargentina. Playing on a barge helps their muscles learn how to balance when they play on hardwood that’s attached to solid ground. Oregon also has barges, wood, and solid ground.

Australia

If you turned the Earth upside down, Australia would be in the exact spot where Oregon is now, and Canberra would be exactly where Portland is now. Basically, Oregon is the Australia of Australia. So who really are the real Australians? Is one’s Australianness just a matter of perspective? Patty Mills is injured and will not be playing.

Brazil

Brazil’s portion of the Amazon Rainforest is the fourth largest forest in the world behind Mt. Hood National Forest, Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest, and the other part of Mt. Hood National Forest. Brazil also has a river. We have upwards of four rivers, plus Fanno Creek. Brazil deserves your sympathy.

Croatia

Croatia’s Adriatic coast has been called “The New Italy” in travel writing aimed at people with enough wealth to tire of the original Italy. Coincidentally, people also describe Oregon as “The New Italy.”

Dominican Republic

An entire country dedicated to miniature canned goods. Prepare for the worst, but do so without being overly wasteful. Very Oregonian of you, Dominican Republic.

Egypt

You know who liked Egypt so much that he had an Egyptian tattoo on his arm? R.A.S.H.E.E.D. W.A.L.L.A.C.E.

Finland

Petteri Koponen plays for Finland and I think he might have a beard now. Actually I’m pretty sure he doesn’t but he should have a beard.

France

Nicolas Batum, that weird era of Marlon Brando, some other cultural stuff.

Greece

The giant inflatable octopus that has sat above that restaurant downtown forever is Greek and you wouldn’t want to let him down.

Iran

I was watching a Portland Beavers game through the fence one time and a man next to me who had long fluorescent white hair like Legolas and was wearing nothing but neon-colored running shorts said that America invaded Iraq because you could launch a missile from Iraq to anywhere in the world because Iraq was the very center of the entire world and then he told me to go home that night and look at my globe to confirm. I did and holy shit he was right. Oh wait, we’re talking about Iran?

Korea

Ha Seung-Jin will not be playing but I’m sure he will be smiling at you from somewhere because he’s very sweet.

Lithuania

Arvydas Sabonis, The Grateful Dead, tie-dye, the early ’90s, it’s all kind of spelled out for you there isn’t it.

Mexico

The best Mexican food in the Portland area is in the back of a grocery store in Hillsboro and mayor whatever his name is should make a special jail for people who put Tabasco sauce on tacos.

New Zealand

Imagine Portland stretched into an entire country: lots of white people who like nature and hate dancing.

Philippines

If the Philippines win this tournament, all of the players will be frozen in carbonite and hung on the walls of Jollibee locations throughout the country, much like Portland did after the ’77 championship.

Puerto Rico

America doesn’t even root for America.

Senegal

Senegal is shaped like a head with The Gambia being the negative space of the open mouth and Dakar being Rudolph’s illuminated nose so that’s pretty fun. Root for Senegal.

Serbia

More like 420_HERBia_420.

Slovenia

in Portland we have those eARTh bumper stickers and in Slovenia they have sLOVEnia bumper stickers.

Spain

Victor Claver is on the team. PS: miss u rudy plz come back :(

Turkey

Whenever the Turkey coach calls a timeout he puts his hand on the dry erase board, traces around his five fingers, then draws eyes and a beak on the thumb part and it looks just like a Turkey are you still reading this?

Ukraine

A country based on ukeleles and rain! Just like Portland!

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