In the political arena, Iran vs. the United States is a matchup that gets attention.
The United States won it easily, earning a top seed in the knockout round of the world championship with an 88-51 victory Wednesday in the first meeting between the countries with a history of contentious relations.
The U.S. team, which downplayed the political aspect of the game, methodically pulled away in the first half, wearing down the Asian champions with its depth and athleticism.
“That’s one of the beautiful things about sports,” U.S. center Lamar Odom said. “If you think about the history of sports, you take people from different cultures, from different beliefs and bring them together. Sports is the one thing that can kind of bring people together and have a great atmosphere. It was great playing a game like this.”
And in a nod to the Iranian supporters in Istanbul–which included minister of sports Ali Saeedlou earlier in the tournament–dancers were ordered to cover up for their performances during the game. Islam prohibits women from exposing their skin in public, and Iranian officials had turned their backs when the dancers performed in earlier games.
The dancers wore long pants Wednesday.
“Sports bring people together”–so long as you don’t dress like this.