Team USA: Comparing the 'Redeem Team' of 2008 against the 2016 roster

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Football News

The Olympics has a special allure that even the unique world of the NBA cannot offer.

It might not have the money, the coverage or celebrity status that the NBA represents, but donning your country's colours and vying for a gold medal is not just an itch that can only be scratched every four years, but only 12 men get to do it.

For Team USA, being one of those 12 men is extremely hard work. When everyone is available, picking the best United States men's basketball team is about as difficult a discussion as who is the greatest of all-time.

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But, the U.S. are typically head and shoulders above everybody else on the hardwood. There has only been four times in 18 attempts that the Americans have not won gold in basketball at the Games and three of those four times, they still bagged a medal.

After LeBron James, Stephen Curry, James Harden and co. dropped out of this year's Olympic side, how do they stack up against other Team USAs of years gone by?

We compare the 2016 edition of the side against the 2008 Redeem team, who were tasked with restoring the U.S. to greatness after only managing a bronze in Athens four years prior.

Redeem Team

The 2008 Team USA had eleven NBA All-Stars, a Hall of Fame coach and an NBA MVP. They were going all out; Athens was a major stain on a proud nation's record and they assembled the elite to right that wrong.

Coach Mike Krzyzewski returned to the fold and made a 29-year-old Kobe Bryant the team's captain. The likes of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Chris Paul, Carmelo Anthony, Dwight Howard and Dwyane Wade gave the roster a crop of superstar names ready to deliver.

Triple-double machine Jason Kidd was also in the squad as was Carlos Boozer, who had just come off a career year, believe it or not. He survived from the 2004 catastrophe, but many believe that Kobe was the difference this time around.

The Black Mamba brought a leadership to the ranks that was not necessarily missing under the likes of Tim Duncan before him, but his special drive and determination doesn't even need a chip on his shoulder. And yet, after their embarrassment four years earlier, Team USA had one.

Kobe was the perfect player to exercise those demons and with a young LeBron by his side - who is the greatest leader in the game today - the Americans would not be denied.

For all the talent the redeem team had, it was their will and desire to regain international dominance that prevailed above all else.


The class of 2016 do not have a flashy name like some of their predecessors, nor do they contain a litany of household icons, but there is plenty of talent to get excited about.

Kevin Durant is probably the most famous player in the lineup and Anthony - returning for his fourth Olympics - is certainly the most experienced.

Having said that, only one player from the All-NBA First Team decided to head to Rio this summer, and that was DeAndre Jordan of the L.A. Clippers.

However, with the likes of Klay Thompson, Jimmy Butler, Kyrie Irving and DeMarcus Cousins, Coach K has a plethora of talent at his disposal that are still the favourites to get the job done in Brazil.

It's not a tale of redemption. It's not about a 'Dream Team'. It's not even about proving they don't need all the stars who didn't fancy the trip.

It's simply about carrying on the prestigious lineage the United States has created on the court and refusing to drop the mantle. Who will be Team USA's Kobe-esque leader?

Kobe Bryant
L.A. Lakers
Pacific Division
Western Conference
Dwyane Wade
Miami Heat
Southeast Division
Eastern Conference
LeBron James
Cleveland Cavaliers
Central Division
Kevin Durant
Oklahoma City Thunder
Northwest Division

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