Despite absences from NBA “megastars” LeBron James and Steph Curry, who have decided to sit out the 2016 Rio Olympics to rest and prepare for the 2016 NBA season, there is no doubt the USA men’s basketball team is a powerhouse.
This year’s team will be led by all-stars Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony—and they have a legacy to protect.
If the U.S. wins gold this year it will be the team’s third straight Olympic gold medal.
The team is coached by Mike Krzyzewski of Duke University, which is fourth in all-time wins out of all NCAA men’s basketball programs. “Coach K” was an assistant coach to the 1992 “Dream Team,” the 1992 U.S. men’s Olympic basketball team, widely regarded as “the greatest sports team ever assembled.”
One of the biggest challenges the USA men’s basketball team will face is Spain, led by Pau Gasol, who won silver in 2012 and 2008. Luckily, team USA won’t face Gasol until later in the competition, since they are placed in what some have called the “easier” group.
Durant, of Golden State Warriors fame, and Anthony, of the New York Knicks, have already shown their dominance during the Olympics showcase tour. Anthony scored 20 points in the game the U.S. won handily against China–107-57. Team USA will play the Chinese team in their first game on Aug. 6.
Anthony is clearly motivated to win, despite urging from his friends in the NBA to stay home. He has the chance to win his third Olympic gold medal; a feat no American men’s basketball player has ever achieved.