In 2004, the USA Basketball team came up with the bronze medal. Now for pretty much any other country this would be a great, proud accomplishment, but for the United States it was an embarrassment.
Now, after over two years of preparation, this 2008 Olympic team looks like the closest thing we've seen to the "Dream Team" of 1992 that won the gold medal in Barcelona. This new team is ready to do the same this year in Beijing.
After the United State's finished sixth in the 2002 FIBA World Championship and third in both the 2004 Olympics and the 2006 FIBA World Championships, the newly refurbished team was asked to make a real commitment.
With players like Kobe Bryant, Deron Williams, and Chris Paul, along with new coach Mike Krzyzewski, the team coasted through qualifying, beating teams by an average of over 25 points.
They once believed that gold would just be handed to them every time they entered a tournament. Now this new team really wants the medal. Kobe Bryant was quoted as saying that an Olympic medal would mean more to him than an NBA Championship.
And with the more experienced LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, and Carmelo Anthony, along with big men Dwight Howard, Carlos Boozer, and Chris Bosh leading the scoring, Kobe Bryant locks down the opponent's top scorer (a role which he took on when the team began the qualifying stages).
Chris Paul and Deron Williams will facilitate the offense as the point guards. And with Jason Kidd—the experienced veteran and the only one on the team with a gold medal—this team has every necessary role on the roster to win.
With this new motivated, committed team not even the other top basketball contenders such as Argentina, Greece, and Spain can compete with this blend of youth, talent, and experience. For every American basketball fan, every televised USA basketball game will be a must-watch. So tune your TVs to NBC and watch as the dynasty is revived.