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Will The 2024 US Olympic Team Win It All In Paris?

Teo Choi

LeBron James celebrates after winning the gold medal in the 2012 London Olympic Games.

Following harrowing defeats to Canada and Germany in the semi-final and third-fourth-place matches in the 2023 FIBA World Cup, the United States basketball team faced scrutiny and doubt compared to the past. Traditionally, United States basketball was a powerhouse that would undoubtedly win every game. This was especially amplified when, in 1992, FIBA allowed NBA players to participate in the Olympics, creating the ‘Dream Team,’ starring Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, and Larry Bird, among others. Now, what prompted this change? In a gold-medal game in the 1988 Seoul Olympics, the Soviets took home the win in a controversially officiated game. In 2008, the United States formed another “super team.” Known as the ‘Redeem Team,’ this talented roster consisted of LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, and Kobe Bryant. Again, what prompted this? A disappointing bronze medal in the 2004 Athens Olympics. Do we see a pattern now?

After the 2023 FIBA World Cup disappointment, there was a lot of chatter in the media about whether the United States was ‘that’ team anymore. It seemed like all the other countries were getting better and younger, while the United States was stagnant. Take Canada, for example. Despite having far fewer NBA players compared to the United States, Canada has produced remarkable upsets. Led by up-and-coming star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and supported by young players such as RJ Barrett and Dillon Brooks, Canada can be seen as a real threat.

It is obvious that the 2023 FIBA World Cup wasn’t the United States’ best performance. However, there was somewhat of a reason for this. This roster consisted mostly of young and emerging players. These players include Anthony Edwards, Tyrese Haliburton, Paolo Banchero, Mikal Bridges, and Jalen Brunson. While this team should still be able to do damage on the world stage, it definitely wasn’t the best team Team USA could have produced.

Another thing that added fuel to the fire was a press conference by USA track star Noah Lyles. In this press conference, Lyles rebuked the term ‘World Champion’ used by NBA teams when they win an NBA title. This debate had been going on for quite a while, but Lyles’ comment was the culmination point. His “World champion of what, the United States?” comment ignited a flame in United States Basketball, and then began the assembling of one of the greatest teams ever.

This roster really began with LeBron James. Having rested from the Olympic games since 2012, the thirty-nine-year-old forward began recruiting fellow players for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games. The core of the roster really stems from LeBron James, Stephen Curry, and Kevin Durant, who, upon hearing each other’s commitments, were more than ecstatic. Being thirty-nine, thirty-six, and thirty-five, respectively, the 2024 games are probably their last time representing the country. The talented team also consists of young superstars like Bam Adebayo, Devin Booker, Anthony Edwards, Tyrese Haliburton, and Jayson Tatum, and established stars like Anthony Davis, Jrue Holiday, Joel Embiid, and Kawhi Leonard.

Despite this incredible team, even being coined the ‘Avengers,’ a gold medal is not guaranteed. With the NBA becoming more and more global, there is increasing doubt about this team's ability to win it all. With teams like France, headed by Rookie of the Year Victor Wembanyama, Slovenia, represented by European sensation Luka Doncic, Serbia, led by MVP Nikola Jokic, Greece, Canada, and Germany all deemed as contenders, it will be interesting to see how Team USA performs in the upcoming 2024 Paris Olympic Games.


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