WhatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s good everybody? I know I havenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t blogged in a while, but weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve been pretty busy ever since we left New York City for overseas. If youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve been following Team USA then you know weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve been to Spain, Greece and now Istanbul, Turkey for the FIBA World Championship.
Obviously, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a little different out here but itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s been a great experience for me. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s been fun hanging around with these great players. WeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve just really been hanging around each other so I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have any good lost-in-translation stories.
The fans here treat us the same though as the ones back in the States and like I said we really havenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t gone out too much to tell you the truth.
But the other day I did have a chance to go to a basketball court dedication in a town called Atasehir, which is in Istanbul. It was technically in Asia, so we actually crossed continents in about a half hour. It was cool, seeing a court dedicated in my name on the other side of the world. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll never forget that. After that we went to the Nike Ã¢â‚¬Å“MeydanÃ¢â‚¬Â store in Istanbul, which really was about the same as any other Nike store back home.
As far as basketball goes, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m just trying to be a little bit more focused, more locked in. ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the difference. ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s why I havenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t been Tweeting or anything like that. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m just trying to take a different approach because weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re out here on business. I do have my mother out here with me so thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s been nice. Other than that, I keep in touch with friends and family every so often.
The international crowds are a bit different out here, too. The arenas are smaller and itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s very loud in there but itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s pretty cool to play in. As the weeks have gone by IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve started to get acquainted to the FIBA style of play and the officiating.
The knockout stage begins for us on Monday, so IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m very excited for that. It should be a lot of fun and a great challenge for us. Our practices have been really intense and focused. WeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re just ready to play.
Make sure you keep up with Team USA during this final week of play. WeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re aiming for the gold medal! IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll probably talk to you guys after the tournament is done. In the meantime, hit me up in my comments section. Anyone been to Istanbul before?