2004 was a dark moment for USA basketball, as the team managed to win only a bronze medal at that year’s Olympic Games, even though it was led by a young LeBron James.
Change was needed, and for the 2008 Olympics, head coach Mike Krzyzewski was brought in, as well as Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant.
At the time, James was following Bryant, as Bryant was considered the best basketball player in the world, and there was slight concern that maybe Team USA would have too much arrogance.
But according to Krzyzewski, via The Athletic, the two “never had any problems” and were never jealous of each other; In fact, he said there was a “genuine” bond between the two.
What happens when you put two of the greatest players on the same team?
A bond that transcends basketball, according to Coach Kay. pic.twitter.com/g4dm60Y2yw
— The Athletic (@TheAthletic) 18 July 2023
In 2008, Bryant was at the top of his game as he led the Lakers to the NBA Finals for the fifth time in his career and earned his first regular season MVP.
While he already had three championship rings, James didn’t have one, and the Akron, Ohio native still had a lot to learn on and off the court.
Bryant became the leader of Team USA, and it was his clutch heroics that helped the team hold off on Spain, led by his Laker teammate Pau Gasol, and bring home the gold medal.
Four years later in London, the aging Bryant graciously stepped back, leaving it to James to lead the Americans.
This time, James was in his stride, as he had recently won his first NBA title, and he helped Team USA win gold once again.
Seeing Bryant and James teaming up to represent our country brought back memories of the Dream Team of 1992, when Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird put their egos aside for the sake of their patriotism and took the court Was.
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