Gotta love this. Team USA is in Spain today readying to take on Finland at 3:30 p.m. ET in their first game of the 2014 FIBA World Cup, previously referred to as the World Championships. Heralded starting guards, James Harden and Kyrie Irving, showed during a shooting contest at practice their competitive juices are already flowing.
The pair of young all-star guards were attempting shots off the pass from beyond the three-point line when Kyrie stopped everything to get a count on their score. The two go back and forth over the tally and eventually get back to it, but it’s a fun look at the battles which can intensify during USA Basketball tryouts and practices.
The best part about their duel, stems from Irving’s complete confidence after every shot left his hand. He just turned towards Harden without seeing the snap of the nylon — convinced the shot was true.
As BallisLife’s David Astramakas points out, Irving’s no-look conviction in his shot is similar to Larry Bird‘s 1988 Three-Point Shootout win.
When Bird’s final shot of the contest — with the multi-colored “moneyball” in the left corner — leaves his hands, he doesn’t even wait to watch it go in before boldly extending his right index finger to commemorate the win.
It was Bird’s third straight Shootout win, and he never participated after that final year in Chicago. Why bother, when it had become too easy for the Boston sniper?
That was the confidence we saw from Kyrie, but we do think Harden was up during their shooting contest above.
(video via KIA en ZONA)
What do you think?
Follow Spencer on Twitter at @SpencerTyrel.
Follow Dime on Twitter at @DimeMag.
Become a fan of Dime Magazine on Facebook HERE.