After Dr James Naismith invented Basketball, it was introduced in the Olympics in the year 1936 in the men’s category. It was a lot different from what we see today. It was played outdoors in a court of clay and mud in the pouring rain. USA basketball team won the inaugural competition beating the Canadians 19-8. 85 years later the USA won the gold medal for a record 16th time in the history of Olympic basketball.
USA Basketball’s total domination for 7 straight Olympic Games
From 1936 to 1968 the United States men’s team ruled the basketball world. they won most of the games by a very huge margin and were exceptional on the court. They were impenetrable, invincible on the floor. Things changed in the 1972 controversial Munich Olympic games.
The Soviet Union, now Russia, pulled an upset over the tournament favourites the United States. USA came in strong but lost by a point in the final to the USSR. Even though they won the next Olympics their unbeaten run was broken. The 1988 Olympics changed USA basketball as we know it.
25 years ago today, the @usabasketball Men's National Team took home 🏅 with 117-85 victory over Croatia! #DreamTeam25 🇺🇸🏀 pic.twitter.com/HUqSrky0WK
— NBA (@NBA) August 8, 2017
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The Dream team rescues USA Basketball
After a disappointing loss to the USSR yet again in 1988 the USA decided its time to make some twists and tweaks to their Olympic roster. The 1992 Barcelona Games had a difference, for the first time NBA professionals were allowed to participate and represent their nations in the Olympic games. NBA decided to send their best out there. They created a dream roster that had the biggest names in basketball history.
Magic Johnson came out of retirement to lead the USA alongside Larry Bird and the legendary Michael Jeffrey Jordan. The roster also had Charles Barkley, Patrick Ewing, David Robinson, Karl ‘the Mailman’ Malone, John Stockton, Scottie Pippen Clyde Drexler, and Chris Mullin as other major stars.
They set the bar so high for USA Basketball that the world was stunned at what they saw. They were so dominant on the court and famous off the floor, even their opponents wanted to get a picture with the dream team. Most players of the 1992 dream team appeared for the 1996 games, with the addition of Shaquille O’Neal, Gary Payton, Hakeem Olajuwon, and won gold.
The 2000 Olympics was the same story, a team of NBA Allstars toyed with the rest of the world and went home with gold. The 2004 Athens games were a different story, and because of that, the ‘Redeem Team’ was born.
The birth of the Redeem Team, a redemption for USA Basketball
After a bad loss to Argentina in 2004, NBA stars banded together to form the ‘Redeem Team’, seeking redemption. They wanted to win it all. The team had great names like LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, Chris Paul, Dwight Howard, and Jason Kidd. They completely destroyed their opponents and claimed gold. The 2012 team had more stars such as Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Kevin Durant, and a very young Anthony Davis. They too delivered when needed and won USA the gold medal.
The 2016 Rio Games was no different; it was more like Golden State Warriors vs the world. Klay Thompsom, DeMarcus Cousins, Kevin Durant, and Draymond Green were on the roster, along with Jimmy Butler, Carmelo Anthony, Kyrie Irving, and others. The 2020 Olympics yet again proved why the basketball world is still ruled by the United States of America.
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