On August 5, as the Parade of Nations begins its march into the Olympic Stadium in Rio de Janiero, a familiar face will be among the first delegations entering the stadium. Luis Scola, one of the newest Nets will be carrying the blue-and-white flag of Argentina. leading hundreds of his countrymen and women.
Andrei Kirilenko carried the Russian flag into London's Olympic Stadium in 2008, before he was with the Nets, but this will be the first time an active Nets player will handle the honors. Scola told AP this week that it's all part of a personal history that is far beyond his youthful dreams.
"I had the chance to play four Olympics, to play 10 years in the N.B.A., to carry the flag for my country, win an Olympic gold medal,’’ Scola said. "I mean, different things that happened along those days that I couldn’t even dream of those because it would be too wild to dream. So it’s been quite a journey, it’s been quite a ride."
Of course, the 2004 gold medal is the high point. Argentina with its Golden Generation stood on the podium while the U.S. with players like Tim Duncan, Allen Iverson, LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony received the bronze.
Scola now realizes he is at the end of his career. He's 36 and on a one-year deal with the Nets. The Rio Olympics will be the last time the remnants of the Golden Generation will play together. He, Manu Ginobili, Andres Nocioni and Carlos Delfino are unlikely to play in the next Olympics or even the FIBA World Cup two years from now. So this is almost certainly it.
"It was a great run. Obviously right now we’re in a different stage. It’s going to be a little bit more difficult for us right now, but we’re going to compete. It’s going to be fun."