Argentina found Gold at 2004 Athens Olympic Games
They've done it before. Can they do it again?
It's hard enough getting to the top. It's harder to stay there.
Argentina has put together one of the world's most sustained successful runs in men's basketball. Only the United States can claim to be more successful.
In a year the U.S. is proclaiming its reincarnation of the "Dream Team" and Spain is boldly predicting good things for itself, Argentina just keeps playing great team basketball.
Three members of that 2004 gold medal team remain front and center for the Argentinians this time around.
Argentina won the bronze medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. The current crop of players are getting older. This may be the final chance for many of them to grab the gold.
What are their chances?
PG Prigioni, Pablo; Caja Laboral Spain
PG Laprovíttola, Nicolás; Lanús Argentina
PG Campazzo, Facundo; Peñarol (MdP) Argentina
SG Ginóbili, Emanuel; San Antonio Spurs United States*
SG Quinteros, Paolo; Regatas Corrientes Argentina
SF Delfino, Carlos; Milwaukee Bucks United States
SF Nocioni, Andrés; Caja Laboral Spain
SF Jasen, Hernán; Cajasol Banca Cívica Spain
SF Mata, Marcos; Peñarol (MdP) Argentina
PF Scola, Luis; Houston Rockets United States*
PF Gutiérrez, Leonardo; Peñarol (MdP) Argentina*
PF Kammerichs, Federico; CR Flamengo Brazil
C Gutiérrez, Juan Pedro; Obras Sanitarias Argentina
C Leiva, Martín; Peñarol (MdP)
Julio Lamas, Head Coach
Sergio Hernandez, Assistant
Gonzalo Garcia, Assistant
*2004 team member
Argentina has earned a medal in 10 of the 15 FIBA Americas Championships in which they have competed: two gold, four silver and four bronze.
Argentina won the last FIBA Americas Championship, compiling a 9-1 record. The team has not finished any lower than fourth in its previous 10 Americas appearances.
Argentina owns the South American Championship competition with 13 titles, including this year. The team won all five games they played. The last time Argentina failed to compete for a medal was in 1968.
The gold medal at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games was no fluke. Argentina beat the U.S., 89-81, in the semifinals, and then destroyed Italy, 84-69, in the championship game.
Argentina became the first nation other than the United States to win the gold medal since 1988. Manu Ginóbili was named the Most Valuable Player.
On July 9, Argentina downed Spain's B national team, 81-76, in an exhibition contest. Argentina rallied in the fourth quarter to earn the victory.
Two days earlier, Argentina clinched the title of the Super 4 Hope Funds Cup in Buenos Aires.
Group A: Lithuania, Tunisia, USA, France, Nigeria, Argentina
Group B: China, Great Britain, Brazil, Australia, Russia and Spain.
With three NBA players on the roster with a combined 22 years of experience in the league, Argentina stands poised to upset conventional thinking.
With France and the U.S. in the same group, Argentina will find out soon enough if they have what it takes to not just reach the medal round (they will) but to win it all.
Argentina brings the most experienced team of them all into the Olympics and experience counts.
Manu Ginobili -- 10 years in the NBA
Luis Scola -- five years in the NBA
Carlos Delfino -- seven years in the NBA
Bronze medal: Argentina 72, France 70.