| Event type

Basketball, Men

Date10 – 24 August 2008
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.

1United StatesUSA8016850–627Gold
8People's Republic of ChinaCHN244434–494
9Russian FederationRUS142387–406
11Islamic Republic of IranIRI050323–464

Preliminary Round (10 – 18 August 2008)

Group A (10 – 18 August 2008)

Round-robin pools.


Match #110 Aug 9:00RUS 71 – 49IRI
Match #210 Aug 16:45LTU 79 – 75ARG
Match #310 Aug 20:00CRO 97 – 82AUS
Match #412 Aug 9:00LTU 99 – 67IRI
Match #512 Aug 11:15CRO 85 – 78RUS
Match #612 Aug 22:15ARG 85 – 68AUS
Match #714 Aug 11:15AUS 106 – 68IRI
Match #814 Aug 16:45LTU 86 – 79RUS
Match #914 Aug 22:15ARG 77 – 53CRO
Match #1016 Aug 11:15AUS 95 – 80RUS
Match #1116 Aug 14:30LTU 86 – 73CRO
Match #1216 Aug 16:45ARG 97 – 82IRI
Match #1318 Aug 9:00CRO 91 – 57IRI
Match #1418 Aug 11:15AUS 106 – 75LTU
Match #1518 Aug 22:15ARG 91 – 79RUS

Group B (10 – 18 August 2008)

Round-robin pools.


Match #110 Aug 11:15GER 95 – 66ANG
Match #210 Aug 14:30ESP 81 – 66GRE
Match #310 Aug 22:15USA 101 – 70CHN
Match #412 Aug 14:30GRE 87 – 64GER
Match #512 Aug 16:45ESP 85 – 75CHN
Match #612 Aug 20:00USA 97 – 76ANG
Match #714 Aug 9:00ESP 72 – 59GER
Match #814 Aug 14:30CHN 85 – 68ANG
Match #914 Aug 20:00USA 92 – 69GRE
Match #1016 Aug 9:00GRE 102 – 61ANG
Match #1116 Aug 20:00CHN 59 – 55GER
Match #1216 Aug 22:15USA 119 – 82ESP
Match #1318 Aug 14:30GRE 91 – 77CHN
Match #1418 Aug 16:45ESP 98 – 50ANG
Match #1518 Aug 20:00USA 106 – 57GER

Quarter-Finals (20 August 2008)

Winner of each match advanced to the semi-finals.

Match #120 Aug 14:30ESP 72 – 59CRO
Match #220 Aug 16:45LTU 94 – 68CHN
Match #320 Aug 20:00USA 116 – 85AUS
Match #420 Aug 22:15ARG 80 – 78GRE

Semi-Finals (22 August 2008)

Winner of each match advanced to the final round.

Match #122 Aug 20:00ESP 91 – 86LTU
Match #222 Aug 22:15USA 101 – 81ARG

Final Round (24 August 2008)

Medal round.

Match 1/224 Aug 14:30USA 118 – 107ESP
Match 3/424 Aug 12:00ARG 87 – 75LTU


Scoring Average
2-point Field Goals Made
2-point Field Goals %
3-point Field Goals Made
3-point Field Goals %
Total Field Goals Attempted
Total Field Goals %
Free Throws Made
Free Throws %
Total Rebounds
Blocked Shots
Personal Fouls