Everyone can remember when mighty Team USA – stacked to the gills with NBA talent – were shocked in the 2004 Olympic basketball semi-finals by Argentina.
In hindsight, maybe it shouldn’t have been such a surprise. Argentina was truly a talented team, who touted NBA talent of their own in Luis Scola, Fabricio Oberto, Andres Nocioni, and of course Manu Ginobili (arguably the best player in the entire tournament).
The popular narrative wove at the time was that the United States was so dominant at basketball, that any twelve NBA players could be grouped together to win gold at the tournament. After their colossal failure, it was argued that Team USA didn’t have the shooting, nor the top-tier NBA talent necessary to win at the global level.
People always point to this experience as the turning point in which Team USA learned from this lesson, and came back better than ever in the 2008 Olympics, with the Redeem Team. But, they actually got their asses handed to them once more in the 2006 FIBA World Cup semi-finals, this time by Greece: