The United States men's national basketball team represents the United States of America in international men's basketball. The USA is the most successful team 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 were 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). The United States is currently first 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.
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 at the 1994 FIBA World Championship, finishing first. In 1996, 2000, and 2008, the USA again captured gold medals.
However, American dominance has lessened in recent years. Facing increased competition, the USA failed to win a medal at the 2002 FIBA World Championship, finishing sixth. The 2004 Summer Olympic team lost three games on its way to a bronze medal, a record that represented more losses in a single year than the country's Olympic teams had suffered in all previous Olympiads combined.
Determined to put an end to these failures, USA Basketball initiated a long-term project aimed at creating better, more cohesive teams. The USA won its first seven games at the 2006 FIBA World Championship in Japan before losing against Greece in the semi-finals, ending the competition with the bronze medal. The USA won gold two years later, though, at the 2008 Summer Olympics with a dominant performance. This success was followed up at the 2010 FIBA World Championship, where despite fielding a roster featuring no starters from the 2008 Olympic team, the USA did not lose a single game en route to defeating host Turkey for the gold medal, led by the tournament's MVP Kevin Durant.
Full article ▸