The USA has been the gold standard for men’s international basketball, having captured the past four gold medals in the Olympics.
Their dominance has stretched over a decade now, with the 2008 team reasserting the country at the top. That roster, headlined by Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, among other NBA superstars was dubbed the “Redeem Team,” a nod to USA’s previous failure at the 2004 Olympics in Athens where they managed to only come up with the bronze medal.
That group of superstars is arguably the greatest collection of talent to ever be assembled, and they marched through the tournament with ease, ultimately beating a fellow powerhouse in Spain to win gold.
Spain was led by Bryant’s Lakers teammate Pau Gasol, and at that point, those two had already become as close as brothers.
Netflix released a trailer for its upcoming documentary covering the Redeem Team, and at their fan event this past week, they released another clip that explores Bryant’s willingness to run through Gasol during their first matchup, via Netflix:
In 2004, the US Olympic Men's Basketball team lost the gold and sought redemption in Beijing 2008. @KingJames, @DwyaneWade, and Kobe Bryant led The Redeem Team. This is that story. #TUDUM pic.twitter.com/95MCsOQ6h3
— Netflix (@netflix) September 24, 2022
As James and Wade note in the trailer, there was initial skepticism that Bryant would do such a thing to his teammate, but once it happened, it set the tone for the remainder of the game and tournament. Bryant was known as a ruthless competitor during his playing days, and he showed how unforgiving he could be if a player was wearing a different jersey.
The strategy ultimately worked as the US eventually won, beating Spain twice in the tournament. In a tightly-contested fourth quarter of the gold medal game, Bryant managed to convert on a clutch four-point play that gave the United States enough cushion to take home the gold.
Bryant helped the Redeem Team achieve its goal, and later alongside Gasol, led the Lakers to back-to-back NBA titles. However, retelling the story of that men’s Olympic team will surely be a treat for basketball fans when it hits Netflix on Oct. 7.
Jim Boeheim recalls Kobe Bryant setting tone on Redeem Team with defense
Bryant was a prolific scorer during his career, but on the Redeem Team he took up the challenge of guarding the opposing team’s best perimeter player. Team USA assistant Jim Boehim recalled Bryant’s intensity on the defensive end and how that raised the level of everyone around him.
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