Jason Kidd has been a selfless player for the USA on and off the court in Beijing by sharing his experience and the basketball.
And he is set to dish out a big handoff if the Americans return to basketball supremacy today by beating Spain for the gold medal.
Kidd promised Elaine Wynn, wife of casino mogul Steve Wynn, that he would give her his newest Olympic medal if the Americans fulfill the redeem dream.
“It’s not a (gambling) marker or anything like that,” Kidd told The Arizona Republic. “She’s just a great friend and a really great person.”
They met last year when Kidd and the USA team stayed at the Wynn while training in Las Vegas.
“Last summer, we stayed at the Wynn for (what seemed like) a lifetime, close to three weeks,” Kidd said. “We met at a banquet, we got to talking, and she really understands the game.
“I told her I’d make a deal with her, that if we won the gold medal, I’d give it to her. She thought I was kidding. But I told her I had one already, and the way they treated us at the Wynn, it was the least I could do.”
That’s one way to get a lifetime pass to the front of the buffet line.
• COLANGELO’S FORESIGHT — USA Basketball director Jerry Colangelo never won an NBA championship as owner of the Phoenix Suns, so today can mark his first major title.
He knew what he was doing when he helped put Kidd on the team. The 35-year-old starter has averaged less than 14 minutes a game and 1.6 points but has provided leadership on and off the court.
He was part of the 2000 gold medal-winning team and has a 52-0 record in USA senior competition.
• DREAM CONTINUES — The USA women’s basketball team hasn’t choked, taken opponents lightly and/or entered the Games unprepared over the past 16 years.
Had it blundered, more people might have been following the team.
The Americans’ 92-65 blowout of Australia on Saturday gave the team its fourth straight Olympic gold medal, with veterans Lisa Leslie and Teresa Edwards becoming the only basketball players to win four golds.
Most attention for USA team sports has been the men’s “redeem team.” You can be called a redeemer only if you first were a loser.
• DEFECTOR GAMES — Despite South Korea’s upset of Cuba on Saturday for the baseball gold, the real game soon will begin about which Cuban players will try to defect to the U.S. to pursue major league careers.
The demise of softball in the Olympics has been ballyhooed, but baseball also is being dropped in 2012.
Just another reason why oars whittled from Louisville Sluggers might lead the next flotilla of escapees from Cuba to Florida.
• ON TRACK — No American mishandled a baton handoff, ran out of bounds or tripped.
American men and women ran flawlessly to win golds in the 1,600-meter relays.
Still, the Games marked one of the USA’s worst track efforts in more than three decades.
If Colangelo’s team wins today, maybe he will take over the USA Track & Field program.
COMPILED BY JEFF WOLF REVIEW-JOURNAL