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The IX: Basketball Wednesday with Howard Megdal, August 18, 2021
Did the gold medal won by the United States at this summer’s Olympics feel… laborious to you?
That’s the argument Dawn Staley made Tuesday afternoon.
“It’s a pressure that just builds and builds and builds and builds and you have to unleash it somewhere,” Staley said of what it felt like, emotionally, to coach the team. “And I felt like I did it by diving into watching a lot of film.” She added that time playing Solitaire, then gin rummy with her South Carolina coaching compatriot Lisa Boyer, helped pass the time.
So it shouldn’t be surprising that Staley compared the moment after winning the gold medal to delivering a baby, and added that this moment was a particularly difficult one to answer a question like whether she’d be back in 2024.
However: that answer has changed since Jim Souhan reported what she said that night, right after the United States captured its seventh consecutive gold medal.
“I’m probably 9,10 days removed from it. I feel a little bit differently now, because that sense of relief.”
So Staley pointed out that she’s “never said no to USA Basketball”. You combine this with Cheryl Reeve demurring publicly on taking the gig, and it’s hard to escape the thought that Dawn Staley will be the coach in Paris in 2024.
The truth is, that’s more than fine. Staley is built to do it, she understands the pro mindset, she’s lived it as a player for USA Basketball, too. But Cheryl Reeve, with four WNBA titles and plenty of experience on the USAB staff, would excel in the role, too.
This is the enviable problem with USA Basketball, the reason why so many people felt as if legitimate, Olympic-worthy players didn’t make the Tokyo roster. It’s true! They didn’t. There is more elite talent than spots to go around.
So as someone who has covered both Staley and Reeve for years, I’d like to see each of them get a shot at gold as a head coach. It doesn’t really matter, I guess. I’ll be in Knoxville and Springfield for their induction ceremonies someday regardless, it just changes slightly what gets engraved on their plaques.
Ultimately, if Dawn is happy coaching, and Cheryl is happy assisting, I’m certainly not going to argue otherwise. More from her down below.
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