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 The History Of The US Dream Team

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PostSubject: The History Of The US Dream Team   Tue Jul 20, 2010 11:52 am



The United States men's national basketball team represents the United States of America in international men's basketball. The USA is one of the most successful teams in international competition, winning medals in all sixteen Olympic tournaments it has entered, coming away with thirteen golds. Two of its gold medal-winning squads will be inducted to the Basketball Hall of Fame as teams in August 2010—the 1960 team, which featured six Hall of Famers (four players and two coaches), and the 1992 "Dream Team", featuring 13 Hall of Famers (10 players, three coaches).[1] The United States is currently second in the FIBA World Rankings.

Traditionally composed of amateur players, a 1989 rule change by FIBA allowed USA Basketball to field teams with professional players. The first such team, known as the "Dream Team", won the gold medal at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Spain, playing in the final against Croatia.[2][3][4]

With the introduction of professionals, the team was able to spark a second run of dominance after capturing only a bronze medal in 1988. A team of professional players competed in the 1994 Basketball World Championships, finishing first. In 1996, 2000, and 2008, the USA again captured gold medals.

1992 Dream Team (The Original)

The original Dream Team, the U.S. basketball team that won the gold medal at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, was a phenomenon on and off the court. It mattered not that it dominated the Olympic competition, beating its eight opponents by an average of 44 points. What was important was that the Dream Team, the first U.S. Olympic team to include NBA stars, gave fans a glimpse of basketball at its finest, and an entire world responded.

Since 1992, basketball has exploded in popularity around the globe, rising to a place where it truly challenges soccer's status as the world's most popular sport. Much of that is due to the impact of the Dream Team, which attracted fans and followers wherever it went.

"It was," said Coach Chuck Daly, "like Elvis and the Beatles put together. Traveling with the Dream Team was like traveling with 12 rock stars. That's all I can compare it to."

And what a band it was. Start with three of the game's all-time greats: Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird. Add the irrepressible Charles Barkley for a little spice, as well as seven more NBA All-Stars: centers David Robinson and Patrick Ewing, power forward Karl Malone, swingmen Scottie Pippen, Chris Mullin and Clyde Drexler and point guard John Stockton. Complete the roster with Christian Laettner, the best college player of 1991-92 and a future NBA All-Star.

Opponents didn't have a chance, but they didn't care. One player, while trying to guard Magic Johnson, was seen frantically waving to a camera-wielding teammate on the bench, signaling to make sure he got a picture of them together.

"They knew they were playing the best in the world," reflected Daly after the team won the gold medal with a 117-85 win over Croatia on August 8, 1992. "They'll go home and for the rest of their lives be able to tell their kids, 'I played against Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson and Larry Bird.' And the more they play against our best players, the more confident they're going to get.

"Finally there will come a day -- I'm not saying it will happen anytime soon, mind you, but it's inevitable that it will happen -- that they will be able to compete with us on even terms. And they'll look back on the Dream Team as a landmark event in that process."

Dream Team 1996

The 1996 team also had an easy time taking home the gold. This team brought back Robinson, Barkley, Malone, Stockton, and Pippen. To these five was added Grant Hill, Shaquille O’Neal, Anfernee Hardaway, Hakeem Olajuwon, Gary Payton, Reggie Miller, and Mitch Richmond. As Table Three reports, the average WP48 on this team was 0.277.

2000 Dream Team

7 Alonzo Mourning C
10 Kevin Garnett PF
9 Vince Carter SF
6 Allan Houston SG
14 Gary Payton PG

11 Vin Baker C
13 Antonio McDyess PF
4 Steve Smith SF
12 Ray Allen SG
5 Jason Kidd PG

15 Shareef Abdur-Rahim PF
8 Tim Hardaway PG

During the late 1990s, international basketball began to gather attention as more and more foreign players became stars in the NBA. Therefore, the 2000 U.S. team had the enormous task of proving that American basketball could remain 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.

The 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, the U.S. team won 85–76, marking the first time a team of professional American players failed to win by double digits. Two games later, in a 106–94 victory over France, Vince Carter pulled off one of the most famous dunks in basketball history, jumping over 7'2"/2.18 m French center Frédéric Weis on his way to the basket. (The French media would dub Carter's feat le dunk de la mort—"the dunk of death".)

A major shock came on the semifinals game when the United States managed to defeat Lithuania by only two points, 85–83, after Lithuanian star (and future NBA player, first with the Indiana Pacers and later with the Golden State Warriors) Šarūnas Jasikevičius missed a desperation three-pointer at the buzzer that would have won the game.

The closeness of the semifinal game was so shocking that NBC took the unusual step of showing the gold medal game live rather than on tape delay. (The game started around 2 p.m. Sydney time on Sunday October 1st, which is late Saturday evening in the USA. NBC originally planned to show the game almost 24 hours later during its Sunday prime time broadcast.) The USA won the gold medal against France in a very close game, 85–75. Though the US went undefeated on its way to the gold medal, the team began to lose its aura of invincibility for the first time.

2004 Dream Team Roster

* Carmelo Anthony
* LeBron James
* Kobe Bryant
* Michael Redd
* Dwight Howard
* Tayshaun Prince
* Deron Williams
* Jason Kidd

Amare Stoudemire and Chauncey Billups played in 2007 but withdrew their names from the selection process this time around. Tyson Chandler played the fewest minutes on the 2007 team and Mike Miller had the second lowest field goal percentage on the 2007 team. Those four players have been replaced by Carlos Boozer, Chris Bosh, Chris Paul and Dwyane Wade.

2008 Dream Team Roster (The Redeem Team)

Boozer, Carlos
Kidd, Jason
James, LeBron
Williams, Deron
Redd, Michael
Wade, Dwyane
Bryant, Kobe
Howard, Dwight
Bosh, Chris
Paul, Chris
Prince, Tayshaun
Anthony, Carmelo

2010 Dream Team

The absence of James, Wade and Paul could make 2010 the year that Kevin Durant becomes the face of Team USA. Durant was one of the last players to be cut from the 2008 team; he's a mortal lock to make this year's model. Durant's size and outstanding outside shot should be a devastating combination against the zone defenses favored in international competition.

Several key members of the 2008 Olympic Team were set to hit free agency this summer -- including LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Carlos Boozer. Kobe Bryant and Chris Paul played through injuries last season, and wanted the time off to recover. Others had more personal reasons to pass - Carmelo Anthony is a newlywed, Wade just got through a messy divorce, and Deron Williams passed for "family" reasons he opted not to make public.

Point Guards: Derrick Rose, Chauncey Billups, Rajon Rondo
Shooting Guards: Stephen Curry, Eric Gordon
Small Forwards: Kevin Durant, Rudy Gay
Power Forwards: Lamar Odom, David Lee, LaMarcus Aldridge
Centers:: Amar'e Stoudemire, Brook Lopez



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