US to beat Spain in Basketball World Cup final, predicts Laureus Ambassador Alonzo Mourning
September 10, 2014
Laureus Ambassador Alonzo Mourning, a former basketball great with Miami Heat, tips the United States to win the FIBA World Cup currently taking place in Spain.
Even without top players like LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant and Kevin Love, Basketball Hall of Fame legend Mourning believes the US will fight off a strong challenge from host nation Spain.
In an interview with Laureus.com, Mourning, who retired in 2009 after 15 years playing in the NBA, said: “I expect Spain to be very aggressive and I expect a very tough challenge, but ultimately I think the US will win. I think across the board they have more talent than the Spanish team does.”
Mourning said times have changed from the 1992 and 1994 Dream Teams and the gap between the United States and other top basketball countries has shrunk. “I think the international teams are not in awe as they were back then. Now they are a lot more accustomed to the style of play of the Americans and many of the international players are playing in the NBA.”
But even so he expects the US to maintain their dominance and retain the World Cup which they won in 2010. “I expect to see the US play Spain in the final. I think it’s going to be close, but I feel like the US will have the edge. But basketball is a game of mistakes. The team that makes the least mistakes is the team that comes out victorious,” added Mourning.
In a wide-ranging interview, Mourning, now Vice President of Player Development and Programmes at Miami Heat, also said that he thought the Heat would be hugely competitive in the new NBA season despite the loss of LeBron James to Cleveland Cavaliers.
He said: “Obviously when you have the best player in the world, it changes the dynamics of everything. So with him not being here, we had to make some adjustments and we brought some players in we feel are going to be extremely effective. We’re very thankful that we were able to sign Chris Bosh back, as well as D?Wade and we were able to put a pretty solid core of players around those guys which is going to complement their play pretty well.”
Despite the loss of LeBron James, Mourning predicts that Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs, who played each other in this year’s NBA Finals, will again be the dominant teams.
“I think it will be Spurs-Heat again. I think that the Spurs have obviously proven themselves as the best team in the world. Until somebody dethrones them, they will continue to be the best team in the world. But right now, we have a team that has the capabilities of doing some special things just based on the pieces that we have and I'm very excited about our chances this year.”
Mourning, who became a Laureus Ambassador this year, is a firm believer that sports stars should give back to society and help those less fortunate. For many years he has supported the Overtown Youth Center in Miami, a safe haven and after-school project to improve literacy in a disadvantaged area of the city.
He said: “Being selected as a Laureus Ambassador is a tremendous honour considering what it stands for and how it all evolved from the great South African President, Nelson Mandela. To be part of this initiative and understanding the power of sport and how it changes the lives of young people really inspires me. I want to make sure that we continue to expose as many children as we can to our sport.
“A lot of these kids come into the world pretty much playing the hand that they are dealt. They are thirsting for direction and it's important that we as adults try to provide the best possible direction for each and every one of these kids. Sport grasps their attention to help them understand the importance of the different components of life.”