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You damn right. I said gold medal.

LeBron “Illustrated Man” James has thrown down the gauntlet to the rest of the basketball-playing world by telling them they are playing for the silver and bronze because Team “Dream Team 2.0″ USA is coming out on top, much to the chagrin of some bloggers. Personally, I have no problem with LeBron’s boasting and if it gives the USA even more desire going into the Olympic tournament, all the better.

For those of you who don’t like King James saying the US will win the gold, what would you prefer? The rote, safe-for-media response where LeBron just loves on the Yao Mings and Dirk Nowitzkis he’ll be going against soon?

No thanks.

From my perspective, LeBron’s guarantee does one thing — it informs the rest of the world USA Basketball is coming for them, so get ready. If their upcoming opponents respond by playing harder against LeBron and company, so be it. It will make for even more entertaining basketball.

Team USA, after five exhibitions against Canada (tomorrow night on ESPN), Turkey, Lithuania, Russia and Australia will being Olympic play against the Chinese National Team on August 10. Then it will be time for LeBron and the teammates that back his guarantee to put up or shut up.