United States National Basketball Team

The United States National Basketball Team is the representative for the United States of America in international basketball. Recent editions of the team have been known as The Dream Team, starting with the men's team that won the gold medal at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Spain. That team is often regarded as the greatest collection of talent on one team in basketball history.

A 1989 rule change by FIBA allowed professional athletes to play in international competition for the first time. The Dream Team qualified for the Olympics after having a 6–0 record in the Men's Tournament of the Americas.

Two years later, a second "Dream Team" competed in the 1994 Basketball World Championships, finishing first. In 1996 and 2000, Dream Teams III and IV once again captured gold medals. (No Dream Team competed in the 1998 World Championships as an NBA lockout prevented its players from competing.) Though the nickname was bestowed by some upon subsequent American national teams, the performances of the 2002 World Championship and 2004 Summer Olympic teams (which finished sixth and third, respectively) all but denied it, and perhaps future teams, the right to the "Dream Team" nickname. The 2004 team lost three games on its way to a bronze medal, a record that represented more losses in a single year than the country's Olympic teams had suffered in all previous Olympiads combined. It was also the first time since NBA professionals became eligible that the U.S. men's basketball team returned home without gold medals.

Before the 1992 Olympic games, USA Basketball competed with amateur basketball players. In Olympic play from 1936 to 1988, the USA Men's team compiled an impressive 85-2 record, collecting nine gold medals and one bronze medal. In addition, the 1972 team placed second but unanimously voted to refuse its silver medals following a controversial loss to the Soviet Union in the gold medal game.

Without question, the 1972 Olympic men's basketball gold medal game is the most controversial in Olympic history. With three seconds left, American forward Doug Collins sank two free throws to put the Americans up 50-49. However, the horn sounded before Collin's second free throw.

Immediately following Collins' free throws, the Soviets inbounded the ball and failed to score. But one official had whistled play to stop with one second remaining after hearing the earlier horn and seeing a disturbance near the scorers table. The Soviets argued that they had requested a timeout before Collins' foul shots. The referees ordered the clock reset to three seconds and the game's final seconds replayed. However, the clock was in the process of being reset when the referees put the ball in play. A length of the court Soviet pass missed its mark, the horn sounded and the U.S. again began celebrating.

However, R. William Jones, Secretary General of FIBA, stepped in and ordered the clock again reset to 0:03 and the game replayed from that point. This time, the Soviet's Aleksander Belov and the USA's Kevin Joyce and Jim Forbes went up for the pass, and Belov caught the long pass from Ivan Edeshko at the foul line, sending the two Americans sprawling. Belov then drove to the basket for the layup and the winning points as the buzzer sounded. The U.S. team quickly filed a protest after the game, which was heard by a five-man Jury of Appeal. In a 3-2 decision (divided along ideological lines between Communist and non-Communist countries), the Jury voted down the protest and awarded the gold medals to the Soviet team. [4] The U.S. players voted unanimously to refuse their silver medals.

This game marked the first ever loss for Team USA in Olympic play, ending a winning streak of 63 games and seven gold medals.

The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan prompted several countries, including the United States, to boycott the 1980 Olympics in Moscow.

The 1980 U.S. team, which featured a number of future NBA players, was the youngest American national team ever assembled. Unable to compete in the Olympics due to the boycott, it instead participated in the "Gold Medal Series," a series of games against NBA all-star teams in various U.S. cities, recording a 5-1 record.

In response to the American-led boycott of the 1980 games, most Communist countries (including the Soviet Union) boycotted the 1984 Games, held in Los Angeles.

Michael Jordan made his Olympic debut, eight years before his appearance on the original Dream Team. Jordan led the team with 17.1 points per game, and Bob Knight coached the team to an 8-0 record and another Olympic gold.

1988 Olympics - A roster than included a host of future NBA all-stars including David Robinson and Mitch Richmond came up short, finishing third and winning the bronze medal. Team USA lost its only game to the Soviets 82-76 in first Olympic meeting between these countries since the controversial 1972 gold medal game. The Americans went on to pound Australia 78-49 in the bronze metal game. "Thunder" Dan Marjerle led Team USA in scoring, averaging 14.1 points per game.

The 1992 Dream Team's Olympic Summary - Team USA cruised through its qualifying round with a 6-0 record. The team then took on Angola in the opening game of the Olympic competition. Barkley had 24 points in a team USA 116-48 romp. Next, the Dream Team took on a talented Croatia team and beat them soundly by 33 points, led by Jordan's 21. The United States team then defeated Germany behind Larry Bird's 19 points and Karl Malone's 18. In the next game, seven USA players scored in double digits and Charles Barkley set the new single game scoring record with 30 point in a 127-83 rout of Brazil. Team USA then closed out pool play with a resounding 122-81 drubbing of Spain.

In the quarter finals, Mullin scored a team high 21 points as the Dream Team scored a 115-77 victory over Puerto Rico. Team USA rolled on in the semis with a 51 point win over Lithuania. Nine US players scored in double figures. Jordan led the way in the gold medal game against Croatia, scoring 22 points. Barkley had 17. The final game was the closest of the entire Olympics, with the Dream Team winning by 32 points in a 117-85 blowout.

Team roster
Charles Barkley of the Phoenix Suns
Larry Bird of the Boston Celtics
Clyde Drexler of the Portland Trail Blazers
Patrick Ewing of the New York Knicks
Magic Johnson, retired, formerly of the Los Angeles Lakers
Michael Jordan of the Chicago Bulls
Christian Laettner of Duke University
Karl Malone of the Utah Jazz
Chris Mullin of the Golden State Warriors
Scottie Pippen of the Chicago Bulls
David Robinson of the San Antonio Spurs
John Stockton of the Utah Jazz
Coach: Chuck Daly of the New Jersey Nets

1994 World Championship Team, or Dream Team II

The second Dream Team competed in the 1994 World Championships, held in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. This was an entirely new roster, as USA Basketball elected to showcase stars who were not present at the 1992 Olympics. Composed primarily of younger NBA players, the team lacked the widespread appeal of its predecessor but nevertheless continued its dominance.

Team roster

Derrick Coleman of the New Jersey Nets
Joe Dumars of the Detroit Pistons
Tim Hardaway of the Golden State Warriors^
Kevin Johnson of the Phoenix Suns
Larry Johnson of the Charlotte Hornets
Shawn Kemp of the Seattle SuperSonics
Dan Majerle of the Phoenix Suns
Reggie Miller of the Indiana Pacers
Alonzo Mourning of the Charlotte Hornets
Shaquille O'Neal of the Orlando Magic
Mark Price of the Cleveland Cavaliers
Steve Smith of the Miami Heat
Isiah Thomas, just retired from the Detroit Pistons^
Dominique Wilkins of the Los Angeles Clippers, formerly of the Atlanta Hawks

Coached by Don Nelson of the Golden State Warriors, this team easily captured the gold medal in tournament play.

1996 U.S. Olympic Basketball Team, or Dream Team III
The third Dream Team participated in the 1996 Summer Olympics held in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. The star quality of team was impressive as it featured five members of the original Dream Team (Barkley, Malone, Pippen, Robinson, and Stockton). The rest of the squad consisted of high-caliber players, and they rolled to another gold medal.

Team roster

Charles Barkley, of the Phoenix Suns (#4)
Anfernee Hardaway, of the Orlando Magic (#6)
Grant Hill, of the Detroit Pistons (#5)
Karl Malone, of the Utah Jazz (#11)
Reggie Miller, of the Indiana Pacers (#10)
Hakeem Olajuwon, of the Houston Rockets (#15)
Shaquille O'Neal, of the Los Angeles Lakers (#13)
Gary Payton, of the Seattle SuperSonics (#14)
Scottie Pippen, of the Chicago Bulls (#8)
Mitch Richmond, of the Sacramento Kings (#9)
David Robinson, of the San Antonio Spurs (#7)
John Stockton, of the Utah Jazz (#12)
Charles Barkley, John Stockton, Scottie Pippen, Karl Malone, and David Robinson were the only players who participated in both Olympic Dream Teams.

Dream Team III cruised through the 1996 Olympics, defeating every other team by margins greater than 20 points. They captured the Gold Medal after defeating Yugoslavia 95–69. Lenny Wilkens coached this team, which definitively lived up to the expectations of the thousands of fans that went to see their home team. Dream Team III was thought by some to be the last of the "invincible" Dream Teams

1998 World Championship Team

The American team that competed in the 1998 World Championships in Athens, Greece is not considered a Dream Team, as none of its players were current members of NBA teams. Instead, the team was nicknamed the "dirty dozen" because of the way they worked hard on the court and maximized their ability for the good of the team. Because of a labor dispute that led to a lockout, no active or well-established NBA players were permitted to compete in the tournament. This unheralded team, composed largely of players from the minor-league Continental Basketball Association, captured a bronze medal—considered a solid achievement given the team's complete lack of top-notch talent.

Team roster

Wendell Alexis
Ashraf Amaya, previously of the Washington Bullets (1996-97)
Mateen Cleaves, then of Michigan State University, later of the Detroit Pistons (2000-01)^
Bill Edwards, previously of the Philadelphia 76ers (1993-94)
Kiwane Garris, previously of the Denver Nuggets (1997-98) and later of the Orlando Magic (1999-00)
Michael Hawkins, previously of the Boston Celtics (1996-97) and later of the Sacramento Kings (1998-99)
Gerald King
Jimmy King, previously of the Denver Nuggets (1996-97)
Trajan Langdon, then of Duke University, later of the Cleveland Cavaliers (1999-00)
Brad Miller, had just finished career at Purdue University, later of the Charlotte Hornets (1998-99)
Jimmy Oliver, previously of the Washington Bullets (1997-98) and later of the Phoenix Suns (1998-99)
Jason Sasser, previously of the Dallas Mavericks (1996-97) and later of the Vancouver Grizzlies (1998-99)
David Wood, previously of the Milwaukee Bucks (1996-97)
^Injured; unable to compete

Coach - Rudy Tomjanovich, Houston Rockets

2000 Olympic Basketball Team

During the late 1990s, international basketball began to gather attention as more and more foreign players became stars in the NBA. Therefore, Dream Team IV had the enormous task of proving that American basketball was the best in the world. The new team that was assembled again featured NBA players, but this time few of them were considered to be true superstars, as several elite players elected not to participate. Since the team was more ordinary than a collection of the greatest ever to play, and not much better than other teams in the tournament, many fans did not believe that the name "Dream Team" should apply[citation needed] and instead simply referred to it as the 2000 U.S. men's basketball team.

Team roster

Shareef Abdur-Rahim, of the Vancouver Grizzlies
Ray Allen, of the Milwaukee Bucks
Vin Baker, of the Seattle Sonics
Vince Carter, of the Toronto Raptors
Kevin Garnett, of the Minnesota Timberwolves
Tim Hardaway, of the Miami Heat
Allan Houston, of the New York Knicks
Jason Kidd, of the Phoenix Suns
Antonio McDyess, of the Denver Nuggets
Alonzo Mourning, of the Miami Heat
Gary Payton, of the Seattle SuperSonics
Steve Smith, of the Portland Trail Blazers
Head Coach: Rudy Tomjanovich, Houston Rockets

The 2000 U.S. team participated in the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia and was coached by Rudy Tomjanovich. It won its first two games by lopsided margins, but faced more difficult competition thereafter. A preliminary game against Lithuania, won 85–76, marked the first time a Dream Team failed to win by double digits. Two games later, in a 106-94 victory over France, Vince Carter of Team USA executed one of the most famous dunks in history, literally jumping over 7'2"/2.18 m France center Frédéric Weis on his way to the basket.

A major shock came on the semifinals game when the United States managed to defeat Lithuana by only two points, 85–83, after Lithuanian star (and future member of the Indiana Pacers) Sarunas Jasikevicius missed a desperation three-pointer at the buzzer that would have won the game. Dream Team IV eventually won the Gold Medal against France in a very close game, which the Americans won 85–75. Though the United Stated went undefeated on its way to the gold medal, for the first time the team began to lose its aura of invincibility.

2002 U.S. Men's Basketball Team

The 2002 team competed in the 2002 Basketball World Championships in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA. Coached by George Karl, the team finished a surprising sixth in the competition, marking the first time that a team consisting of NBA players failed to capture the gold medal in international play. To a greater degree than in 2000, a number of top NBA players declined to participate, forcing USA Basketball to resort to picking mostly second-tier players.

Team roster

Tracy McGrady of the Orlando Magic
Elton Brand of the Chicago Bulls
Nick Collison of the University of Kansas
Antonio Davis of the Toronto Raptors
Baron Davis of the Charlotte Hornets
Michael Finley of the Dallas Mavericks
Raef LaFrentz of the Dallas Mavericks
Shawn Marion of the Phoenix Suns
Andre Miller of the Cleveland Cavaliers
Reggie Miller of the Indiana Pacers
Jermaine O'Neal of the Indiana Pacers
Paul Pierce of the Boston Celtics
Ben Wallace of the Detroit Pistons
Jay Williams of the Chicago Bulls

2004 U.S. Men's Basketball Team

The humiliating outcome of 2002 prompted a number of NBA superstars to agree to join the team for the 2003 Tournament of the Americas, which the squad was required to participate in to qualify for the 2004 Summer Olympics. The team easily cruised to a first-place finish, earning it a spot in Athens, Greece the following summer.

However, the dominant team that competed in 2003 could not be kept together. Primarily due to security concerns, 10 of its 12 players elected not to participate in Athens, causing USA Basketball to scramble to fill their places. The revamped 2004 team generally consisted of either young NBA players early in their careers, or veteran players thought to be somewhat beneath superstar status. The only established superstars on the team were Tim Duncan and Allen Iverson—not coincidentally, the only two players left from the 2003 roster.

Team roster

Carmelo Anthony, of the Denver Nuggets
Carlos Boozer, of the Utah Jazz
Tim Duncan, of the San Antonio Spurs
Allen Iverson, of the Philadelphia 76ers
LeBron James, of the Cleveland Cavaliers
Richard Jefferson, of the New Jersey Nets
Stephon Marbury, of the New York Knicks
Shawn Marion, of the Phoenix Suns
Lamar Odom, of the Los Angeles Lakers
Emeka Okafor, of the University of Connecticut (Drafted by Charlotte Bobcats that year)
Amare Stoudemire, of the Phoenix Suns
Dwyane Wade, of the Miami Heat
The team was coached by Larry Brown.

Although this team was occasionally called a "Dream Team" because it was composed of NBA players, it is likely that the media will end the use of that nickname after its performance. Indeed, some media outlets took to calling it the "Nightmare Team." Many people criticized both Larry Brown and the players for a lack of dedication to the team. The 2004 US Men's Basketball Team was defeated by Italy by 17 points in an exhibition game in Cologne, Germany; two days later, also in Cologne, the U.S. team needed a long Iverson three-pointer to win an exhibition game against Germany from going into overtime. The vulnerability of the Americans was confirmed on August 15, 2004 when Puerto Rico defeated them 92–73 in the very first game of the 2004 Olympics in Athens. It was only the third Olympic basketball defeat ever in the history of the United States and the first one for a American team composed of professionals. Carlos Arroyo led the victorious Puerto Ricans in the game, which suggested that the level of international basketball had caught up with that of the United States.

After winning close games against Greece and Australia, the U.S. team lost another game against Lithuania, dropping to 2–2 in the Olympic tournament. Sarunas Jasikevicius, who missed a three-pointer that would have beaten the U.S. in the semifinals four years earlier at Sydney, scored 28 points to lead the Lithuanian team.

Even though it managed to win easily against Angola, 89–53, because of the goal average rules, the team entered the quarterfinal round in fourth place, the lowest seed of their group. The Americans faced undefeated Spain in its quarterfinal game and finally put up a dominant performance. Led by Stephon Marbury's 31 points, the team defeated the Spaniards 102–94, eliminating them from medal contention.

Any momentum gained from that victory was lost a game later, however, as the team was defeated by Argentina, led by Duncan's teammate Manu Ginobili, 89–81 in the semifinals, ending the United States' hold on the gold medal. The United States concluded its run the Olympics with a 104–96 win over Lithuania to win the bronze medal. It marked only the third time that an American team failed to win gold, and the first time for an American team composed of professionals. Before 2004, American teams had only lost two games in all previous Olympic tournaments, whereas in this one the American team lost three.

2006-2008 US Men's Basketball Team

Following the failure of the previous "Dream Teams", USA Basketball decided to move in a different direction. It appointed Jerry Colangelo to be solely responsible for selecting the team. Colangelo made it clear that he would ask players for a three-year commitment—the 2006 Worlds and the 2008 Summer Olympics. The head coach chose for the team was Duke University coach Mike Krzyzewski, with assistants Jim Boeheim, Mike D'Antoni, and Nate McMillan. While some prominent players, such as Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett have already stated that they do not plan to play for the team, superstars Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, and Shawn Marion have publicly announced their commitment for the 2006 Worlds and the 2008 Summer Olympics. Allen Iverson, despite being the captain for the 2004 Olympic team, was not invited to train with the team as well as Houston Rockets All-Star Tracy McGrady.

Training camp roster

Carmelo Anthony, of the Denver Nuggets
Gilbert Arenas, of the Washington Wizards
Shane Battier, of the Houston Rockets
Chauncey Billups, of the Detroit Pistons (will go to training camp but not beyond because he promised his wife that he would spend more time with his daughter)
Chris Bosh, of the Toronto Raptors
Bruce Bowen, of the San Antonio Spurs
Elton Brand, of the Los Angeles Clippers
Kobe Bryant, of the Los Angeles Lakers (will miss training camp because he will undergo knee surgery)
Kirk Hinrich, of the Chicago Bulls
Dwight Howard, of the Orlando Magic
LeBron James, of the Cleveland Cavaliers
Antawn Jamison, of the Washington Wizards
Joe Johnson, of the Atlanta Hawks
Shawn Marion, of the Phoenix Suns
Brad Miller, of the Sacramento Kings
Adam Morrison, of the Charlotte Bobcats
Greg Oden, of The Ohio State University (will miss training camp due to a hand injury)
Lamar Odom, of the Los Angeles Lakers (has pulled out due to the loss of his infant son)
Chris Paul, of the New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets
Paul Pierce, of the Boston Celtics (will miss training camp because he is having minor surgery on his left elbow)
Michael Redd, of the Milwaukee Bucks (will miss training camp because he is getting married)
J.J. Redick, of the Orlando Magic (will miss training camp because of injury)
Luke Ridnour, of the Seattle SuperSonics
Amare Stoudemire, of the Phoenix Suns
Dwyane Wade, of the Miami Heat

2006 U.S. Men's Basketball Team

Carmelo Anthony, of the Denver Nuggets
Gilbert Arenas, of the Washington Wizards
Shane Battier, of the Houston Rockets
Chris Bosh, of the Toronto Raptors
Bruce Bowen, of the San Antonio Spurs
Elton Brand, of the Los Angeles Clippers
Kirk Hinrich, of the Chicago Bulls
Dwight Howard, of the Orlando Magic
LeBron James, of the Cleveland Cavaliers
Antawn Jamison, of the Washington Wizards
Joe Johnson, of the Atlanta Hawks
Brad Miller, of the Sacramento Kings
Chris Paul, of theNew Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets
Dwyane Wade, of the Miami HeatPermission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, with no Front-Cover Texts, and with no Back-Cover Texts.
Virtual Magic is a human knowledge database blog. Text Based On Information From Wikipedia, Under The GNU Free Documentation License. Copyright (c) 2007 Virtual Magic. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".

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