The United States Men’s Olympic Team listens to the national anthem following the gold medal game on August 12 after defeating Spain, 107-100, to capture their 14th gold in men’s hoops.
LONDON – This was no Dream Team. This was reality.
The gold medal was in doubt for the U.S. men’s basketball team.
The Americans led Spain by only one point after three quarters, a back-and-forth, impossible-to-turn-away-from game that almost anyone would hope for in an Olympic final.
Especially, it turns out, the U.S. players.
“We knew it wasn’t going to be easy. We didn’t want it easy,” LeBron James said.
The Americans defended their title on Aug. 12 by fighting off another huge challenge from Spain, pulling away in the final minutes for a 107-100 victory and their second straight Olympic championship.
James capped one of basketball’s most brilliant individual years with a monster dunk and a huge 3-pointer in the final 2:50 that finally ended a Spanish threat few expected after the Americans had been so dominant for so long in London.
Kevin Durant scored 30 points and James had 19 on a day he joined Jordan as the only players to win the NBA title, regular-season MVP, NBA Finals MVP and Olympic gold in the same year.
Coach Mike Krzyzewski, who has said he’s retiring as national team coach after restoring the Americans to their place atop world basketball, emptied his bench in the final minute.
James stood with both arms in the air, then held Durant in a long hug before they came off the court. When the final horn sounded, Krzyzewski locked James in a tight embrace as Bruce Springsteen’s “Born In The USA” rocked the arena.
It was the 14th gold medal for the Americans, who lost at least five players who might have been on the team when Dwight Howard, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Derrick Rose had to pull out with injuries and Blake Griffin was hurt in trainin