Following the Euro
Just an interesting thing to nitpick on --- basketball players crossing over to Europe instead of the other way around.
Signs of the times --- Americans are used to smirk over their dominance in the game that they created, but they have not won a world-class basketball competition since the 2000 Sydney Olympics. They were a poor sixth at the World Basketball Championship in 2002 (which earned Paul Pierce and Baron Davis their "selfish" labels), third at the Olympics in 2004 (a team with a bickering Larry Brown underplaying his best young stars), and again third at the Worlds in 2006 (a better-prepared team but without an alpha dog).
It's not the end yet of American basketball --- the players that have left, while almost-stars in their own right, are not the players that the leagues heavily pushes and covets, and that seven of these nine players were formerly based in Europe already. And who knows, with an established pecking order and more commitment to hustle on defense, the 2008 Olympics may just be a stroll in the park for the U.S. team.
But the stage has been set that basketball is more of a global product and talent from all places can, with the proper coaching and opportunities, rise to the top. With economic power now swaying East to Europe and further East to China, Russia and India, the Americans can no longer pay top dollar anymore.
It's also a sign of the hard times the dollar has taken in the changing global economy. In search of the green denied to them, people will always seek better places where they feel more wanted.
Now imagine if LeBron and Kobe were to move...