Every four years, the number of days on the calendar goes from 365 to 366, the United states elects or re-elects a president and the Summer Olympics kick off. Now, with less than six months until the 2020 Summer Olympics, I want to focus my column this semester on the games. Whether that’s spotlighting different players, sociopolitical issues or USC’s long history with the Olympics, I want to offer my analysis and opinion on the upcoming event. The Olympics provides any host worldwide recognition. For the 2016 Summer Olympics, the International Olympic Committee estimated that around 3.5 billion viewers worldwide tuned in, according to The Hollywood Reporter. That was about half the world’s population at the time. The 2012 Games were when sprinter Usain Bolt was in his prime and swimmer Michael Phelps announced his first retirement after the Games concluded. I also discovered several new sports through that year’s Olympics — sports that I didn’t even know existed, like shooting and equestrian. I’ve lived through five Olympics but because I didn’t become a sports fan until later in my life, I only remember the last two. As a new decade begins, I’m looking forward to the last of those three — the Olympics, which will take place from July 24 to Aug. 9. The Summer Games will be held in Tokyo, Japan, marking the return of the Olympics to a city that hasn’t hosted it since 1964. The Olympics helps renovate a city and gives it a new look. When my hometown Tacoma hosted the 2015 U.S. Open for golf, the whole city turned itself around. Now, even five years later, Tacoma looks so much better for it. If the numbers repeat themselves, the prospects for Tokyo to garner the attention it’s hoping for appear good. Once the Olympics concludes, the televised coverage of the games will make more people inclined to visit Tokyo. The city that hosts the Olympics also has to construct or renovate many stadiums and buildings specifically for the games. The merits of this are controversial, but I think it’ll be good for the city. It pushes Tokyo to build new infrastructure and motivates the rest of the city to clean up in expectation of millions of visitors. With that said, Tokyo is more than ready to host its second ever Summer Olympics. Not only will the city etch its name in the history books, but it’ll also enjoy plenty of benefits from simply hosting the Games. This isn’t to say that hosting the Olympics will guarantee a profit. In 2016, Rio de Janeiro spent more than $20 billion to get ready. The hope was that the games would reinvigorate the city, but, unfortunately, many of the venues are now abandoned. The Olympics can also create much-needed profit for a city. After Los Angeles earned $215 million revenue from the 1984 Olympics, the number of cities submitting bids to host the Games jumped from two to 12 by 2004. Tokyo is expected to spend approximately $26 billion when all said is done — about $20 billion more than what the city originally predicted according to the Los Angeles Times. However, it doesn’t look like Tokyo will be struggling financially — the city is holding lottery applications for tickets since they sold out. Tokyo is built to handle events like this, and in my opinion, the city is more than ready to handle the political and financial challenges it is likely going to face leading up to the games.
But the worst experience? It probably came two years ago against a complete stranger using the video game legend that is Kevin Durant, who dropped 55 points on my head in shortened five-minute quarters. The lowlight was made exponentially worse by my opponent having a microphone through which he efficiently extinguished my soul by way of nonstop roasting.It was then that I determined Durant to be the most unstoppable, unfair offensive weapon in “NBA 2K” among active players. In truth, he’d probably held that mantle for a while, despite the all-world excellence of LeBron James and a rotating cast of other dominant MVP contenders over the past decade. In the upcoming Players Tournament, beginning Friday on ESPN, Durant’s unguardable skill set should be on display for anyone who rocks the Nets.MORE: The conspiracy theory behind Hassan Whiteside’s ‘NBA 2K’ ratingNow, it’s important to note that I do not suck at the game. I do not allow 50-pieces. I do not allow 40-pieces. I do not even really allow 30-pieces. While I’m by no means great, I can hold my own against most people I run up against.So when the contest started against this random online competitor, who told me he would beat me without relying on Steph Curry or Klay Thompson for scoring production, I didn’t think much of the matchup. Maybe I’d lose, but falling to the stacked Golden State squad of that year wasn’t shameful. I certainly didn’t think anything embarrassing would take place.Right away, though, I knew I was in trouble.Playing as the Nuggets, I had Paul Millsap locked in as Durant’s primary defender. Millsap at that point was still considered one of the more versatile on-ball defenders in the NBA. Maybe not someone who could completely lock down the best of the best, but certainly someone who didn’t get smoked very often.”Easy money,” my opponent jeered after isolating Durant at the top of the arc and nailing a 3 in my face.For a bit, I hung around by hitting a series of long-distance shots of my own. When the score is tight in “NBA 2K” it can be difficult to realize just how much a single player is killing your defense.MORE: Remembering the time Deandre Ayton broke his PS4 over ‘NBA 2K’But the do-everything nature of virtual Durant — much like his real-life self — quickly became far too much to handle against someone well-versed in maximizing the forward’s considerable talent. The trash talk escalated, too.You know things are bad when your opponent keeps pausing the game to check up on the stats of the player they’re burning you with — and reads said numbers out loud to you each time.By halftime, Millsap was reassigned, having been crossed over by Durant’s long, sweeping dribbles too many times to count, with many of those moves creating space for open 3s. Durant’s height-speed-shooting combo in the game is absurd. I tried Gary Harris on Durant next, but that just led to Durant using his large frame to overpower Harris inside. Will Barton couldn’t get the job done either. It’s difficult to pick out my most embarrassing “NBA 2K” moment because there are so many to choose from.College dorm room losses were always brutal and came with in-person heckling that was difficult to shake. There were plenty of blown leads and backfired trash talk in those days. By the end of the 55-point arc, I was ready to quit “NBA 2K” for good. That didn’t last, of course, but it still took a while to forget about getting destroyed in that manner.This year, Durant continues to be a force. His 96 rating leads all participants in the Players Tournament, and the way he can stretch the floor, at least in my opinion, narrowly separates him from the likes of James and Giannis Antetokounmpo. Whichever player gets to use the Nets in the Players Tournament, then, will have an instant edge in iso situations, even though the overall team might not be as good as the Lakers or Bucks.