This event involved a few people that I’m not necessarily fond of: Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, and Mike Krzyzewski.
But even though it’s a team sport, and the team only won one medal, the USA men’s basketball squad has made for my favorite memories of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
I watched Bryant and Dwyane Wade nail down their victory with big three-pointers and clutch free throws.
I saw Gasol play well all game, but disappear when the game was in jeopardy.
And I watched a college basketball icon lead possibly the most talented group of players ever to a dramatic and well-earned global championship.
That’s what I watched during the Beijing Olympics last night.
Let’s be honest: The Spanish team did not deserve the gold medal. But karma rarely judges such merit. With less than three minutes left, it looked very possible that the team from Spain would continue a 2008 year that led Spaniards world-wide to proclaim themselves the best.
But as dramatic as Phelps’ photo finish was, and as dominating as Usain Bolt’s track triumphs were, the “Redeem Team” represented more than that. It meant regained pride, honor, and even ego. It meant the return of a king. It meant a group holding its rightful place.
So as I watch a Chinese crowd chant, “USA, USA, USA,” I know that this is the memory that I will forever cherish when thinking about the 2008 Olympics.
Because, let’s be honest, as much as the swimming and track achievements meant for this country, basketball reminded us of something. The USA is a pretty damn good place to be. And as cheesy as it sounds, we are still No. 1.