Humorous team photos are nothing new to the basketball world: one striking pose (self-link) by the 2002 Sacramento Kings has been passed around like a virus the past year. But there's a space between humorous and offensive, the Valley of the Blatantly Stupid. The Spanish men's national basketball team visited it last month.
The Guardian reports (via Deadspin) the Spanish team recently took out a full-page ad in Marca featuring the above photo -- the 15-man squad all mocking the eyes of their Olympic hosts. It's a shock upon our camraderian sensibilities, for sure, but hardly the worst thing Spanish athletes have done.
In November 2004 black English footballers were subjected to relentless racial barracking from home supporters in a match in Spain. Before the World Cup there were calls for Luis Aragones, then Spain's football coach, to be sacked after he called Thierry Henry a "black s---". And last year Lewis Hamilton suffered racist abuse during testing for the Spanish grand prix near Barcelona.Still, it's grandly stupid and rather offensive. The Spanish will pay their penance, I imagine: Jose Calderon (back row, fourth from left) plays in a city with a substantial Chinese population. Pau Gasol (back, third from right) has a new flippin' Chinese teammate! And oh, this seems important: Spain plays China tomorrow at 4:45 p.m. Beijing time. If fans there can get through the internet censors to see the crush of blog coverage this will receive today, I imagine Yao will have a bit more audience-powered wind at his sail.