Will this be the Supreme Team? It could be the final year the NBA’s very best suit up for the Olympic men’s basketball tournament with NBA Commissioner David Stern pondering an under-23 squad for the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro.
So enjoy LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook and the rest of the seemingly golden U.S. crew for the next two weeks. Mike Krzyzewski has already said his second Olympics will be his last as coach.
Twenty years after Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird dominated and awed as the original Dream Team, the United States has assembled a squad that could go undefeated in London — even in the absence of injured stars Dwyane Wade, Derrick Rose, Blake Griffin, Chris Bosh and Dwight Howard, among others.
“I’m excited about it,” Krzyzewski said in May. “When we won in 2008, I wasn’t relieved, I was in la-la land. At that moment, you know whether you handled it right.”
With 10 veterans of either the 2010 world championship team or the undefeated U.S. Redeem Team, which won the gold at Beijing four years after the 2004 squad got bronze, the rest of the world should have its hands full.
Expect the United States to face powerhouse Spain, with Serge Ibaka and brothers Marc and Paul Gasol, for the second straight Olympics in the final game. And don’t expect it to be close.