The Olympics is as a great unifier for American NBA fans. It plays directly after the NBA season. Players such as LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony, band into a superteam; this is Team USA.
Netflix’s “The Redeem Team” chronicles the nostalgic perspectives of the late great Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, and other revered players on this Olympic roster.
It shows archival footage of media coverage, scrimmages and the highs and lows of losing to Argentina in 2004. Every man featured has their way of telling the stories of the grit and hard work it requires to get to the Olympics. With Team USA’s rich history of winning the gold, it became the standard.
With NBA players making their way into the Olympics in the 1992 Barcelona Games, the star shined even brighter for America’s team, hence the arrival of international athletes like Pau Gasol.
Placed upon the selected team through the media and to their international opponents, Americans were the pinnacle of basketball greatness. Ranging from college students to Michael Jordan after ring number two, America dominated basketball.
LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Dwayne Wade, being the poignant trio in the film, had the most egregious first Olympic experience than their predecessors. The team’s overall second loss throughout the sport’s span in the Olympics, it is safe to say it was not enjoyable.
One of the most revered basketball coaches in Coach Mike Krzyzewski, famously known as “Coach K,” trained a team of individual stars to represent the country through play and pride.
The FIBA world semi finals was their first game as a squad coached by Coach K. The team was stacked with playmakers, but was unfortunately bested by Greece 101-95.
To add some depth, Bryant was called into the fray, and he could have used a second chance extensively.
During the lead-up to the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, Wade was coming off a knee injury, and the best of the best in the NBA curated a culture about themselves as Team USA as if they had all played on the same team for years, like many of their international rivals.
History and patriotism are threaded through this film, but social and cultural responsibility is emphasized.
The Olympics isn’t just about winning the competitions, getting the medal and going home. These men didn’t take their job too seriously and supported other athletes in other events, soaking in the fact that they were in the presence of the best in the world.
Having fun with the game they love, playing with pride and playing against teammates they admire. Even with messiness inside and out, some of the most revered players of my generation are being lamented as the greatest Olympic team in the history of the games.