The United States Men’s Olympic Basketball team has done exactly what is expected of them so far during the tournament and exhibition games, and that is win. Some wins may have resulted into a few scary moments as was seen versus Serbia and Australia, and other wins Team USA looked as if they were a well-oiled machine. To no surprise that is a reoccurring theme in the modern day Olympics. USA dominated in 1996 and again in 2000. Something in 2004 changed what we are seeing today.
In 2004 in Athens, Greece USA received a wake up call. We were once again informed that we could no longer just compile players who didn’t fit a team game a few weeks after the NBA finals and send them to the games without a plan. It’s difficult to imagine now, but a team featuring prime Allen Iverson, Tim Duncan, Amar’e Stoudemire and young stars Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade and some guy named Lebron James had a disappointing performance in the games and took home the bronze medal. The US lost to Puerto Rico, Lithuania and Argentina (the most ever by a US basketball team).
I’m aware it’s unrealistic to think that other countries that focus on competing in these games year round are not capable of producing the same level of talent as the US. With basketball being invented in the US, one of the four major sports in the US and the NBA being the most competitive basketball league in the world it is realistic to think we should be the team favored to win each year. Despite the criticism surrounding this year’s team, they were still viewed as a favorite.
With 7 of the top players in the league absent (Westbrook, Harden, Curry, James, Davis, Leonard, Paul) the US has still managed to dominate all exhibition games and to win all games in pool play during the Olympics. The result’s may not be Dream-team like, but the reality of a winning Gold Medal is still forthcoming despite a large amount of criticism.Read More