All Becky Hammon wanted to do was play in the Olympics.
Hammon, who has no Russian ancestry, and had never even been there until she signed to play professional basketball there last year, will suit up for the Russian team in Beijing.
Is Hammon a traitor?
"This is not life or death," Hammon said. "My patriotism isn't defined by basketball. My patriotism isn't defined in 94 feet of hardwood.
"I don't expect everybody to agree with my decision or understand my decision. But I know where my courage and patriotism lie. So I'm comfortable with it. I'd still do anything for my country."
But is it within the spirit of the Olympics that a country can buy the rights to athletes just to win medals?
Under league rules in Russia, where Hammon signed to play for a team in Moscow last year, a player who has not played for another country in a FIBA-sanctioned event is allowed to become a naturalized citizen. Once a person is a citizen, the Olympic team is an option.
The WNBA MVP runner-up a year ago, who scored 20 points against the Comets last night, was left off USA Basketball's list of players from which the 2008 Olympic team would be chosen.
"I didn't say no to USA Basketball," Hammon said. "The option for me to play for USA Basketball really wasn't an option.
"It was: 'You can go take part in the Olympics or stay at home.'"
Maybe it won't bother you as much because it is women's basketball, but J.R. Holden will suit up for Russian men's team. Holden hit the game-winning shot for Russia in the gold medal game at last year's European Championships. What if he does the same against the U.S. in Beijing?
It is not unusual for American citizens to be on foreign Olympic teams. Typically, though, the loophole for participation is some familial tie. More than half the Greek Olympic softball players in 2004 were Americans who met the special requirement of having at least one great-grandparent from Greece, which had never fielded a softball team in international competition.
Not only might Hammon and Holden further open a door for flimsy participation with other countries, it's Russia we're talking about. Many of us still have "Cold War" feelings about the former communist power.
"I don't think people would be as upset if I was playing for Switzerland," Hammon said. "God loves Russia just as much as God loves America."
What do you think? Is it OK for Americans to compete in the Olympics for other countries? Is it treason?
Or does the "this is basketball, not war" argument win you over?
Jerry Greene has two words for those of you who think the home crowd really matters: hog and wash.
Remember sweet little Pebbles from the Flintstones? Well, Ashley Harkleroad, who hails from Flintstone, Ga. Was known as Pebbles back in the day.
Harkleroad has decided to show her pebbles to us all, as she will be the first professional tennis player to pose nude for Playboy.
Joke of the Day:
From Jay Leno: "A lesbian couple in Seattle claims they were asked to leave a Mariners game for kissing in the stands after a mother and son complained. Well, the mother complained that they were kissing, and the son complained he couldn't see."