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The 2012 Olympic Games are so close I can taste them. Without a doubt gymnastics, swimming, diving and, of course the centerpiece track and field are the marquee events in the month- long international world sporting festival.

However, since covering my first Olympic Games as a journalist in 1996, I have seen the continued growth of basketball as a marquee event.

The late, great Hall of Fame coach John McLendon, told me that basketball would one day rival soccer as an international sporting event. With the inclusion of the NBA All-Stars in 1992, McLendon’s projection is almost a reality.

Outside the United States soccer is the biggest spectator sport in the world. One of its charms is that no matter the poverty level or environment of people, it only takes a ball to play the game. Basketball is the same in that kids only need a ball and anything with a hole in it.

Read more in the Michigan Chronicle

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