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| Event type

Basketball, Men

Date10 – 24 August 2008
StatusOlympic
LocationBeijing Aolinpike Lanqiuguan, Beijing
Participants144 from 12 countries
FormatRound-robin pools advance teams to classification matches.

The United States had won every basketball gold medal from 1936-1968, before being upset by the Soviet Union at the 1972 Olympics in a very controversial finish. The US continued to win gold medals until 1988, when they had to settle for a bronze. Thru that year, all United States’ teams had been chosen from collegiate, amateur players. But the basketball world was changing and other nations were becoming much stronger. As the Olympics were being opened up to professionals, in 1992 the US selected a team of NBA stars. Termed the Dream Team, and led by professional superstars Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, and Larry Bird, this was likely the greatest basketball team ever. Nobody came close to the Dream Team in Barcelona, and many of the players were so happy simply to be playing against them, that after the games they would ask to pose for photographs with the players. In 1996 and 2000, NBA players again represented the United States and won gold medals, though the margins of victory were shrinking. In 2004, the inevitable happened as American dominance crumbled and the US had to scramble to win a bronze medal. This came after finishing only sixth at the 2002 World Championships, despite using NBA players and having the event played in the United States, at Indianapolis, Indiana.

USA Basketball opted for a new solution for 2008. In 2006 they appointed Mike Krzyzewski, the renowned college coach at Duke University, who had been an assistant coach in 1992 with the Dream Team. Krzyzewski, known as Coach K and for building one of the nation’s best programs at Duke and emphasizing a team concept, committed to a three-year program to set up a similar concept for a US National Team and coach them thru the 2008 Olympics. A graduate of the US Military Academy at West Point, Krzyzewski’s patriotism also made him ideal for the task. Early in 2006, about 30 NBA players were asked to commit to play on the US National Team for three years. Thirty players were necessary because of the risk of injuries, fatigue from the long NBA seasons, and to allow Coach K to select the best players as the Beijing Olympics approached. But first, the US had to qualify for Beijing. At the 2006 World Championships, the US team played better, but still lost in the semi-finals to Greece, having difficulty defending pick-and-rolls, and eventually placed only third. This required them to compete at the Tournament of the Americas in 2007 to qualify for the Olympics, which they did easily.

In Beijing the USA was obviously the best team. Opening against China and Yao Ming in front of the rabid Beijing fans, the US won 101-70. In their last two games of pool play, they defeated Spain, the 2006 World Champion and considered one of their big challengers, 119-82, and then finished off Germany, 106-57. The routs were on and the US Team, termed the Redeem Team by the American media, was evoking memories of 1992. They won the quarter-finals over Australia 116-85, and the semi-finals over Argentina, 101-81. In the final, they again faced Spain, and here the US was brought back to reality. They won the game, 118-107, but it was close. With only two minutes to play, Spain trailed by only four points, when Kobe Bryant stole the ball and canned a three-pointer to open a cushion, as the US pulled away in the last few minutes. The US was led by NBA stars Bryant, LeBron James, and Dwyane Wade. At the medal ceremony, at which coaches do not receive medals, the US team poignantly placed all 12 of their gold medals around Coach K’s neck.

PosCompetitor(s)NOC
1United StatesUSAGold
Carmelo AnthonyCarlos BoozerChris BoshKobe BryantDwight HowardLeBron JamesJason KiddChris PaulTayshaun PrinceMichael ReddDwyane Wade, Jr.Deron Williams
2SpainESPSilver
José Manuel CalderónRudy FernándezJorge GarbajosaMarc GasolPau GasolCarlos JiménezRaúl LópezÁlex MumbrúJuan Carlos NavarroFelipe ReyesBerni RodríguezRicky Rubio
3ArgentinaARGBronze
Carlos DelfinoManu GinóbiliRomán GonzálezJuan Pedro GutiérrezLeonardo GutiérrezFederico KammerichsAndrés NocioniFabricio ObertoAntonio PortaPablo PrigioniPaolo QuinterosLuis Scola
4LithuaniaLTU
Simas JasaitisŠarūnas JasikevičiusRobertas JavtokasRimantas KaukėnasLinas KleizaDarjuš LavrinovičKšištof LavrinovičMindaugas LukauskisJonas MačiulisMarijonas PetravičiusMarius PrekevičiusRamūnas Šiškauskas
5GreeceGRE
Ioannis BourousisDimitrios DiamantidisAntonios FotsisAndreas GlyniadakisTheodoros PapaloukasMikhailis PelekanosGeorgios PrintezisSofoklis SchortsanitisVasileios SpanoulisKostas TsartsarisPanagiotis VasilopoulosNikos Zisis
6CroatiaCRO
Marko BanićStanko BaraćDavor KusKrešimir LončarSandro NicevićZoran PlaninićMarko PopovićNikola PrkačinMarin RozićDamjan RudežMarko TomasRoko-Leni Ukić
7AustraliaAUS
David AndersenChris AnsteyDavid BarlowAndrew BogutC. J. BrutonJoe InglesPatty MillsBrad NewleyMatt NielsenShawn RedhageGlen SavilleMark Worthington
8People's Republic of ChinaCHN
Chen JianghuaDu FengLi NanLiu WeiSun YueWang LeiWang ShipengWang ZhizhiYao MingYi JianlianZhang QingpengZhu Fangyu
9Russian FederationRUS
Sergey BykovVitaly FridzonJ. R. HoldenViktor KeyruViktor KhryapaAndrey KirilenkoSergey MonyaNikita MorgunovZakhar PashutinPyotr SamoylenkoAleksey SavrasenkoAndrey Vorontsevich
10GermanyGER
Patrick FemerlingRobert GarrettDemond GreeneSteffen HamannJan-Hendrik JaglaChris KamanDirk NowitzkiTim OhlbrechtPascal RollerSven SchultzeKonrad WysockiPhilip Zwiener
11Islamic Republic of IranIRI
Hamed AfaghAmir AminiJavad DavariSaeid DavarpanahAli DoraghiHamed HaddadiMehdi KamraniMousa NabipourSamad Nikkhah BahramiOshin SahakianHamed SohrabnejadIman Zandi
12AngolaANG
Carlos AlmeidaFelizardo AmbrósioMilton BarrosOlímpio CiprianoArmando CostaLuís CostaJoaquim GomesVladimir JeronimoEduardo MingasCarlos MoraisAbdel MoussaLeonel Paulo

Preliminary Round (10 – 18 August 2008)

Group A (10 – 18 August 2008)

Round-robin pools.

PosCompetitor(s)NOCWinsDrawsLossesPointsPoints ForPA
1LithuaniaLTU4018425400
2ArgentinaARG4018425361
3CroatiaCRO3026399380
4AustraliaAUS3026457405
5Russian FederationRUS1042387406
6Islamic Republic of IranIRI0050323464

Match #1 RUS 71 – 49IRI
Match #2 LTU 79 – 75ARG
Match #3 CRO 97 – 82AUS
Match #4 LTU 99 – 67IRI
Match #5 CRO 85 – 78RUS
Match #6 ARG 85 – 68AUS
Match #7 AUS 106 – 68IRI
Match #8 LTU 86 – 79RUS
Match #9 ARG 77 – 53CRO
Match #10 AUS 95 – 80RUS
Match #11 LTU 86 – 73CRO
Match #12 ARG 97 – 82IRI
Match #13 CRO 91 – 57IRI
Match #14 AUS 106 – 75LTU
Match #15 ARG 91 – 79RUS

Group B (10 – 18 August 2008)

Round-robin pools.

PosCompetitor(s)NOCWinsDrawsLossesPointsPoints ForPA
1United StatesUSA50010515354
2SpainESP4018418369
3GreeceGRE3026415375
4People's Republic of ChinaCHN2034366400
5GermanyGER1042330390
6AngolaANG0050321477

Match #1 GER 95 – 66ANG
Match #2 ESP 81 – 66GRE
Match #3 USA 101 – 70CHN
Match #4 GRE 87 – 64GER
Match #5 ESP 85 – 75CHN
Match #6 USA 97 – 76ANG
Match #7 ESP 72 – 59GER
Match #8 CHN 85 – 68ANG
Match #9 USA 92 – 69GRE
Match #10 GRE 102 – 61ANG
Match #11 CHN 59 – 55GER
Match #12 USA 119 – 82ESP
Match #13 GRE 91 – 77CHN
Match #14 ESP 98 – 50ANG
Match #15 USA 106 – 57GER

Quarter-Finals (20 August 2008)

Winner of each match advanced to the semi-finals.

Match #1 ESP 72 – 59CRO
Match #2 LTU 94 – 68CHN
Match #3 USA 116 – 85AUS
Match #4 ARG 80 – 78GRE

Semi-Finals (22 August 2008)

Winner of each match advanced to the final round.

Match #1 ESP 91 – 86LTU
Match #2 USA 101 – 81ARG

Final Round (24 August 2008)

Medal round.

Match 1/2 USA 118 – 107ESP
Match 3/4 ARG 87 – 75LTU