The 2012 London Olympics ended in grand fashion last Sunday. Amid a breathtaking fireworks display, hundreds of athletes participated in closing ceremonies, reminiscing about their accomplishments while representing their respective countries.
Of the many athletes were 12 members of the 2012 Olympic US Men’s Basketball Team, prideful of their own significant achievement.
Loaded with the likes of LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant, the team drew comparisons to the legendary Dream Team, and for good reason. Despite the premature hype, LeBron and company did not fall short of (rather high) expectations, going 8-0 en route to a second straight Olympic gold medal.
After Team USA blew out virtually every opponent (exceptions being Germany and Spain), a common question was raised—are these guys so good they are boring to watch?
The answer is absolutely not.
Yes, most of the games were not even remotely close. Sure, six out of eight games resulted in laughers for Team USA, with players like Anthony Davis getting significant minutes in garbage time. But the bigger point is that fans were exposed to NBA-level basketball on an international stage. And lost in the lopsided events were the epic and exciting performances that will likely be shown on highlight reels for decades.
So in case you have already forgotten, I’ll jog your memory. Let’s revisit a few of the top individual performances by Team USA during the 2012 Olympic games:
LeBron James vs. Australia
LeBron is widely heralded for his versatility and ability to dominate nearly every phase of a game. Those talents were yet again on display during Team USA’s quarterfinal matchup with Australia. He finished with 11 points, 11 assists and 14 rebounds, marking the first triple-double in the history of US Men’s Olympic Basketball.
Kevin Durant vs. Spain
Durant dropped 30 points on Spain in the gold medal game, becoming just the fifth American player to accomplish the feat. In doing so he increased his total scoring output to 156 points, the most by any player competing in the Olympics.
Kobe Bryant vs. Australia
After failing to make a shot in the first half of Team USA’s game with Australia, the Black Mamba found his stroke. Kobe bounced back in the second half, draining six consecutive three-pointers (four in a span of roughly a minute). He finished the game with a team-high 20 points, as the US routed Australia 119-86.
Carmelo Anthony vs. Nigeria
Anthony had a game for the ages when Team USA faced Nigeria on August 2. Anthony shot an incredible 10-for-12 from beyond the arc, scoring 37 points—the most by a single player in US Olympics history. What was more impressive was that he did it in just 14 minutes. The United States broke several records that day, including the largest margin of victory, beating Nigeria 156-73.