The United States sent its athletes to Athens expecting them to
compete and do their very best. There isn’t one athlete from the
United States who would be considered a failure if he or she didn’t
win a gold medal, with the exception of the unfairly over-hyped
Michael Phelps and one team that used to be a guaranteed
The only set of athletes from the United States that can come
home as failures, in the public’s eyes, is the members of the U.S.
men’s basketball team. The reason they will be ridiculed and
forever booed is the fact that the bar of striving for excellence
has been set too high. The “dream teams” before them were compiled
with the cream of the crop: the elite all-stars from all around the
NBA. Do the names Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird ring
This year’s so-called “scream team” is compiled of third and
fourth all-NBA team members who have all the potential in the
world, but haven’t quite reached it yet. Allen Iverson and Tim
Duncan are the only true proven players on the team; they are also
This is the youngest team the United States has ever sent to
compete in the Olympic. The average age of a player on the team is
24 years old; Lebron James is the youngest member at 19.
The team has already lost two games thus far to Puerto Rico and
Lithuania. The astonishing thing about these losses is the fact
that United States hasn’t lost an Olympic basketball game since the
installment of NBA players. That is until now.
Unfortunately, the losses were not a surprise to most basketball
analysts around the world. Other countries were expected to push
the U.S. team to the limit, especially after Team USA’s
embarrassing showing at the world championships, where it finished
It’s unfair for America to expect this team to be unstoppable.
It doesn’t have the talent that the “dream teams” normally have.
Numerous great players who were invited to Athens turned down the
chance to represent their country. Tracy McGrady, Vince Carter,
Kevin Garnett, Shaquille O’Neal, Ray Allen, Mike Bibby and Kenyon
Martin, to name a few, all came up with bogus excuses and turned
down the chance to play.
All I’m saying is this year’s Olympic team shouldn’t be looked
down on if it doesn’t come away with the gold, although I will
admit it’s going to be hard to witness us not win it all.
Every person on this team wanted to be in Athens for the pride
in representing his country, which is why I have to keep faith and
predict we will prevail and take gold at the 2004 Athens
Listen to ‘Melo, listen to Lebron and the rest of the team. They
have the confidence and hopefully that will help them overcome
their mishaps and finish out the way they were meant to, as
After Thursday’s victory against Spain, the team advanced to the
semifinals and is now one step closer from losing the title “Scream
Team” and once again being called the “Dream Team.”