To paraphrase the nuanced lyricism of Aaron Carter’s timeless “That’s How I Beat Shaq,” Team USA repeatedly “put it in the hoop like slam” while playing China in the men’s Group A basketball tournament during Day 1 of the Rio Olympics.
Though I admittedly don’t know much about the game, and what little I know can be attributed to frequent childhood viewings of Space Jam (in which I’m pretty sure those Looney Tunes weren’t even following official NBA rules and regulations), it didn’t take a seasoned viewer to see that Team USA was walloping China. They eventually won 119-62, with 25 of those points delivered by Kevin Durant.
Win or lose, this was going to be a big game for Team USA’s Carmelo Anthony — a member of the gold medal-winning teams of 2008 (in Beijing) and 2012 (in London) — who as of Saturday tied LeBron James and David Robinson for most Olympic games played by an NBA pro (24). That feat is likely what kept a smile on his face when he was fouled by Li Gen and ultimately knocked down in the second quarter, laughing it off as he was helped up by his opponent. Meanwhile, DeMar DeRozan wowed this viewer with an epic dunk shortly before halftime.
Here are some other highlights from Day 1 of the Rio games:
* Team USA was awarded the first gold medal in the women’s 10-meter air rifle. Ginny Thrasher, 19, defeated Du Li of China in the final round with a total score of 208, marking the first time Team USA has received the first gold medal of the games since the Sydney Olympics in 2000.
* South Korea received a gold medal after a 6-0 win in men’s team archery; Team USA made do with silver.
* British swimmer Adam Peaty, a first-time competitor, set a new world record when he completed the 100-meter breaststroke in just 57.55 seconds. (Needless to say, he came in first.)
* After a 92-year absence, rugby made its triumphant return to the games with an unforgettable match between Team USA and Fiji. The latter won 12-7.
* Hope Solo and the U.S. women’s soccer team defeated France 1-0, bringing their preliminary record to 2-0.
* And last but not least, SNL‘s Leslie Jones has been live-tweeting select Olympic games, and her enthusiasm for Team USA is unmatched. (Consider this a public service announcement to start following her immediately.)
What was your favorite moment of this day of Olympic competition? What are you most looking forward to in the games? Let us know in the comments!