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The Redeem Team

How USA and their NBA stars reclaimed Olympic men's basketball glory at Beijing 2008

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Gold was the only target for the USA men's basketball team at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.

After the U.S. team's elimination at the hands of Argentina's Golden Generation in the semi-finals at Athens 2004, Duke Blue Devils head coach Mike Krzyzewski, aka Coach K, was put in charge of an American squad aiming to return to the top of their sport in China. With Kobe Bryant captaining a team that featured legends like LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony, USA regained their Olympic crown in spectacular fashion.

The gold medal game

Beijing Olympic Basketball Final: USA Redeem Team rematch with 2006 World Champ Spain

LeBron  JAMES

You can’t be afraid to fail. It’s the only way you succeed. You’re not gonna succeed all the time and I know that.

— LeBron JAMES

The origin story

Since the inclusion of NBA stars to the Olympic basketball tournament, the USA had swept all before them, starting with America's 'Dream Team' at the Barcelona 1992 Games.

Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Scottie Pippen, Larry Bird, and Charles Barkley were among the stars of that '92 U.S. squad, considered one of the most talented sports teams in history. They won gold in dominant style.

The Dream Team legacy continued with USA winning gold at Atlanta 1996, and Sydney 2000.

That aura of invincibility was destroyed at Athens 2004 where, after suffering group play defeats to Puerto Rico and Lithuania, USA lost to Argentina's 'Golden Generation' in the semi-finals. It was the first time a U.S. team featuring NBA players had failed to claim gold at an Olympics. They went on to win a rematch against Lithuania to take the bronze medals, but the era of American dominance was over.

The Golden Generation | Five Rings Films

Chris  BOSH

When you lose a basketball game as the USA team - it's very embarrassing.

— Chris BOSH

After the Athens debacle, the USA men's basketball team found themselves in a void. Mike Krzyzewski, who had also been assistant coach for the Dream Team during Barcelona 92, took the helm of the team as it tried to claim a first global success since Sydney 2000. His first major tournament, the 2006 World Championships, only yielded a bronze medal with the star-studded squad going down to Greece in the semi-finals.

However, two years later, a team captained by Kobe Bryant stepped on the court of the Wukesong Indoor Stadium in Beijing to face the host country China.

That was the beginning of the journey for these 12 athletes, who would write a golden chapter in the Olympic history books, and were given a memorable nickname: The Redeem Team.

The Roster

Kobe BRYANT
Kobe BRYANT
Basketball
Carmelo ANTHONY
Carmelo ANTHONY
Basketball
Carlos BOOZER
Carlos BOOZER
Basketball
LeBron JAMES
LeBron JAMES
Basketball
Jason KIDD
Jason KIDD
Basketball
Deron WILLIAMS
Deron WILLIAMS
Basketball
Michael REDD
Michael REDD
Basketball
Dwyane WADE
Dwyane WADE
Basketball
Dwight HOWARD
Dwight HOWARD
Basketball
Chris BOSH
Chris BOSH
Basketball
Chris PAUL
Chris PAUL
Basketball
Tayshaun PRINCE
Tayshaun PRINCE
Basketball

All about the Redeem Team

Watch the "Redeem Team" trailer

The Redeem Team | Official Trailer

Dwight  HOWARD

It was amazing. Just being able to wear the USA shirt, just to be a part of that whole Olympic vibe... it was a dream come true.

— Dwight HOWARD

Dream Team VS Redeem Team

Michael Jordan or LeBron James? Dream Team or Redeem Team? One of the biggest questions in Team USA basketball is who would win a hypothetical match. What do you think?

Click and vote 

A worthy final opponent

Standing between Team USA and redemption in the final were a Spain team came close to repeating the feat of the Golden Generation. Pau Gasol, Rudy Fernandez, and Ricky Rubio were members of a squad that carved a name in Basketball history and became Spanish legends of the sport.