The 2016 Rio Olympics are right around the corner, and the Team USA basketball team is playing exhibition games against international teams to prepare for the Games. Team USA has played Argentina and China, defeating Argentina 111-74, and China 106-57.
This year’s basketball team is solid, with New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony, Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant and Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving among the biggest names.
Over the years, the USA Olympic basketball program has assembled some of the game’s greatest players to dominate international competition. Since the first team competed in 1936, the USA basketball program has won 14 gold medals.
Here are the five best USA basketball teams of all time.
1. 1992 “Dream Team” at Barcelona Games
They’re called “the greatest team ever assembled” for a reason. The 1992 “Dream Team” featured 11 Hall of Famers—Christian Laettner was enshrined with the team—and their impact on the game was unprecedented. This was the first year the Olympics allowed NBA players to compete in the Games. Only college players could compete in previous years. The “Dream Team” was truly the greatest sports roster ever, including legends Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird. They also left a great impact on the game’s international growth, as players like Dallas Mavericks center Dirk Nowitzki, San Antonio Spurs center Pau Gasol and Spurs guard Tony Parker were influenced by them. The team won the gold medal, defeating Croatia, 117-85.
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2. 2008 “Redeem Team” At Beijing Games
Though the USA basketball program has put together star-studded rosters, they have experienced some hiccups along the way. In 2004, Team USA won the bronze medal behind Argentina and Italy. The program needed a boost. In 2005, Duke Blue Devils coach Mike Krzyzewski was hired to coach the team, and since then, the program has been successful. Krzyzewski has a 75-1 record as the team’s head coach. The 2008 team, called the “Redeem Team, was filled with talent, with LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade and Kobe Bryant headlining. Wade, James, Bryant, Anthony and Dwight Howard all averaged double digit points at the Olympics. The team defeated Spain 118-107 to win the gold medal.
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3. 1960 Team at Rome Games
Led by Oscar Robertson, Jerry Lucas and Jerry West, the 1960 team included some of the era’s best players. Robertson and Lucas averaged 17.0 points per game, and West averaged 13.8 points per game. The team shot 68.8 percent from the field and scored 101.9 points per game. Along with Robertson, Lucas and West, Walter Bellamy was another key player. Bellamy averaged 7.9 points per game and shot 68.4 percent from the field. Like all of America’s Olympic teams, the 1960 team had more than enough talent. During the 1961-1962 season, his first in the NBA, Bellamy averaged 31.6 points per game and 19.0 rebounds per game. The 1960 squad defeated Brazil 90-63 to win the gold medal.
4. 1996 Team at Atlanta Games
The “Dream Team” was great, but the 1996 team that played in Atlanta was solid as well. David Robinson, Scottie Pippen and Charles Barkley returned, giving the team valuable experience. Along with these Olympic veterans, the team also boasted young stars like Shaquille O’Neal and Penny Hardaway, both of whom played for the Orlando Magic in the mid-1990s. Hakeem Olajuwon, Reggie Miller and Gary Payton also played on the team. The team won the gold medal, beating Yugoslavia 95-69, with Robinson contributing a game-high 28 points.
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5. 2012 Team At London Games
The 2012 USA squad followed up the “Redeem Team” in a fashion similar to the 1996 “Dream Team.” LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony headlined the team. Kobe Bryant and Kevin Love joined the supporting cast. Durant led the team in points per game, averaging 19.5. This team featured James at the beginning of his prime, as James won his first NBA title that season with the Miami Heat. The 2012 team also featured Los Angeles Clippers guard Chris Paul and Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook. The team was solid, defeating Spain 107-100 for the gold medal.