He’s gone and done it. LeBron James has tipped his hand.
With a simple guarantee of gold, the King has made his opinion unequivocally clear—the U.S.A basketball team will win the gold medal in Beijing next month.
Now, that’s just one man’s opinion. There are 11 other guys on the USA national team who may think differently. Some do, in fact. Carmelo Anthony wouldn’t even go so far as to guarantee a win in tonight’s exhibition game against Canada.
Is LeBron being overly cocky then? Does his claim resonate as arrogance—the type of over-confidence perhaps that shackled the 2004 team?
The answer is no.
When LeBron preordained the U.S.A basketball team as gold medalist earlier this week, I wasn’t surprised one bit. In fact, I was a little relieved.
You see, I’ve been following the progress of the national team for some time now. When the U.S. finished with a bronze medal in Athens, I, like so many others, felt that was simply unacceptable.
Eventually, Jerry Colangelo was hired to overhaul the system, and I felt a little better. This was a guy who has been around professional sports for over four decades. He knows what goes into building a successful team. Now he was going to take his talents to the national level.
Three years later, we see his work has paid off. Team USA is a squad bursting with talent and eagerness to regain what was lost. Coach K, their sideline leader, has done a wonderful job fostering a sense of national pride among these NBA superstars.
And most importantly, the swagger is back.
I see a group of guys who know they’re the best, but feel the need to prove it anyway. LeBron’s guarantee tells us as much. He’s not afraid to make a pledge for gold because he knows he has what it takes to back it up.
The national team is no longer weighted down with stacked egos and personal agendas. It’s now a squad with one singular goal in mind. Twelve of America’s finest are assembled for one purpose—to win the gold medal.
2004’s bronze medal was an embarrassment, and I think this team feels the burden of responsibility to regain what was lost.
LeBron mentioned in an interview earlier this month that 2004 felt like “someone stole our bikes.” He went to say the one and only goal for 2008 was to “get our bikes back.”
Something tells me this team won’t lack for motivation come tournament time—especially now that they’ve got a guarantee to make good on.