U.S. Unfazed By Weight Of Expectations

LONDON – Based strictly on the tone of the questions lobbed their way in the aftermath of their blowout win over France in their Olympic opener Sunday, you’d have thought the U.S. Men’s Senior National Team squeezed out a win on a last second shot in overtime instead of rolling by 27 points.

Such is the weight of expectations, their own and everyone else’s, especially those who remember the men in the USA uniforms that came 20 years before them.

A 22-21 lead after one quarter was cause for concern by some, but not the U.S. Team.

“That’s not how we operate,” LeBron James said. “That’s what you all [the media] do.”

James said he will make sure his team remains unfazed by anyone else’s expectation of what this team can or should do. Instead, they will remain locked and loaded on whatever the task at hand is and not pay any attention to what comes beyond.

That attitude is what made it so easy for the U.S. to shift into another gear against France after struggling to pull away early.

“We can take it to another level,” Kevin Durant said. “I know we can. We were sloppy and probably a little too aggressive [against France], we got into silly foul trouble and that slowed us down a little bit. But we can play better than we did, much better.”

Any suggestions that Durant and other members of the U.S. team making their Olympic debuts might have been a bit nervous, and that was what contributed to their uneven start, were dismissed by U.S. coach Mike Krzyzewski.

“These guys don’t have jitters,” he said. “There was an adjustment to a new venue and the way the game was administered, but this was a really good day for us, a good first step.”

As much as it has been discussed in the lead-up to the Games, there doesn’t seem to be much willingness to play the comparison game with the original Dream Team now that the competition has begun. And yet, everything this team does will no doubt be compared to what transpired 20 years ago in Barcelona.

The focus, as James mentioned, however, won’t be on that former U.S. Olympic Team. Not if James and Carmelo Anthony, the only two veterans on this team to experience defeat in the Olympics, have anything to say about it.

Anthony admitted that the memories from Athens and the disappointment of the team’s performance in the 2004 Summer Games remain in the back of his mind at all times.

“Absolutely,” Anthony said. “I talk to KD and [Russell] Westbrook about it all of the time. They always ask me, ‘how was it in 2004.’ And I’m not the one to blow smoke at nobody, so I tell them exactly how it was. It wasn’t a great feeling in 2004. It was an embarrassment, a defeating moment, like someone stuck a pin in a balloon and it just burst. We don’t want to have that feeling again, we don’t want to experience that, so that’s why as we go through this whole experience right now we keep that in the back of our minds.”

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52 Comments

  1. Me says:

    saying what if lebron james didnt have those big muscles is like saying what if mj was 5 ft 10 lol. they were born with their height and work hard in the gym to be who they are. no what ifs

  2. knickfan212 says:

    That first dream team was the first time all professionals played and the world wasn’t ready. That’s what made them look so much better than the following teams. Other countries were ready for the talent in the following Olympics. Not saying this team or that team is better just saying that you have to take lots into consideration if comparing. That team had only one college player. That team showed how basketball was supposed to be played. After, the other countries started training better.

  3. knickfan212 says:

    @Kingdom- That’s what they said about Mike but there always another that will come along.

  4. TRIZZY says:

    LEBRON JAMES WILL NOT BE THE GREATEST PLAYER OF ALL TIME AND THIS IS COMING FROM A PERSON WHO LIKE AND RESPECTS IS GAME BUT HES LACKING THAT WILL AND THATS NOT SOMETHING YOU LEARN ITS SOMETHING YOUR BORN WITH BUT HE IS STILL A GREAT PLAYER

  5. HOLLYWOOD says:

    This 2012 USA Olympic team would get run out of the gym going head up with the Dream Team. First, David Robinson, Patrick Ewing and Karl Malone would have had a field day in the middle. Second, the Dream Team had incredible perimeter defenders that would give Lebron, Kobe, KD and Carmelo problems. Third, Kobe Bryant should never, ever, ever be mentioned in the same breath as Michael Jordan! EVER!!! Mike was the greatest to ever lace up sneakers. Not just because of skill set and athleticism, but because of his will to win and the fear that he pumped into the hearts of his opponents. Most of the great ball players of this generation have had their career bests while Kobe was guarding them! This shouldn’t even be a discussion.

  6. android 10000000 says:

    lets see what happens before we conclude,anything can happen in basketball,the ball is round.be careful of what your saying.

  7. specialfriedrice says:

    Not enough bigs in team USA, they are gona struggle, Spain will take the your gold.

  8. Nomena says:

    Hi,
    Think this american team is as good as the original Dream Team was.
    US Basketball can keep that name to every US basketball team in the futur if they want.

    I dont see a panic feeling with this team USA led by Bryant, Lebron and Durant. I dont see a country who can beat them.
    This year, they have a very good chance to win the gold in London.
    But its competition. The americans should not worry, if their team do not win the gold, its good for basketball world competition.
    Basketball is the baby of Canada, before it spreaded worldwide. Not the americans even if the touhgest league in the world is now the NBA.

    The rest of the world played already basketball before the Dream Team in 1992. The Jordan, Bird, Johnson. Pippen made us discover two things: The alley-oops and slam-dunks. And that was beautiful.

    In other topic,
    If team USA beat any team they met and keep winning with a margin of 20 or 40 points, how the rest of the world will take a Basketball World Cup serious ? Means its too soon for real team US to leave the olympic and focus on a World Cup of basketball.

    I think US Basketball should keep sending their best players in the olympics without age-restriction. Basketball is a very good sport. Its the second most popular sport in the world but it will never catch football’s popularity and its FIFA World Cup.
    And Rugby World Cup is just amazing and very very popular too.
    Thanks

  9. Oliver says:

    can’t*

  10. Oliver says:

    Where are the highlights? I checked everywhere but I can find any game footage at all!

  11. DurantFan says:

    Not again about Lebron in the headline. One could argue Kobe and Team USA since Kobe has the most seniority and is probably the biggest player mentor on this team or Durant and Team USA since Durant leads the team on the court in most games. And no, Durant is not one dimensional. Anyone who thinks Durant is one dimensional has not watched the recent games.

  12. Kevin says:

    @ Kingdom Lebron is not the greatest of all time. Michael Jordan is the greatest of all time!

  13. blazersfan says:

    lebron is not clutch, micheal jordan is the best of all time, who got 6 rings huh? thot so who scores 36 and 15 in the finals when ur sick! mj does

  14. Stephen Smith says:

    Lebron James does not know what he says. Espana will destroy you. Espana did not have Marc Gasol when they played you in exhibition game.

    Team USA cannot hit 3 pointers. Team USA get foul trouble early against ESPANA. You will see. Even with no Rick Rubio (the BEST POINT GUARD on PLANET EARTH) Espana will beat your weak Team USA. No more talk of TEAM USA more better than DREAM TEAM. Espana crush your dreams, crush TEam USA, and crus USA basketball FOREVER!

    VIVA ESPANA!

    Champions of Olympic Basketball 2012!!!!

    • Lebron (GOAT) James says:

      @Stephen Smith

      GTFO

      everyone knows that LeBron alone will crush spain stop trolling

    • john says:

      Stephen Smith from Spain..Spain will win like they won in the Worlds? Right? I think they didn’t medal at all and placed 6th. Yeah, with Marc Gasol, they will still lose.

    • lbj says:

      ESPANA was a lost country! better go and travel with Magellan!

  15. joshua gets buckets says:

    you really need help @kingdom…lebron wil never be better than jordan even kobe is better than lebron kobe=5(gonna be 6) jordan=6rings lebron will win 2 at the most…so lebron wont EVER be better than them

    • Rauph says:

      Amen, if you take away Lebron’s strength what is he? another joe blow like VC and T-mac he’s just a freak of nature not an actual ball player. Lebron doesnt have a post game he wont be anything once he gets older like Kobe. Kobe doesnt have the strength like Lebron but he messes with your mind while playing him. Its crazy think about it you dont ever know what Kobe is going to do at all he makes you break down mentally this is why defenders call it KOBE ISLAND. We all know what Lebron is going to do before he does it. If a big is guarding him he’s pulling a 3 or drive left, on an iso he is either going to drive or push off, do his little step back jumper or run full speed and stop and pop in his face. HE HAS NO MOVES. When Kobe retries KD will be the best player in the world. Melo can be also but he has to get his stuff together smh

    • pakyaw says:

      KOBE=COPYCAT=MJ WANNA BE

  16. David V says:

    Lebron will never be the greatest basketball player of all time… The greatest basketball player of all time has 6 rings, 6 finals mvps, 10 scoring championships, defensive player of the year honors, one who has NO WEAKNESSES and that includes thriving in the CLUTCH…

    Lebron will never be close.

    • chris says:

      hes not close yet.. no way.. but well well on the way.. younger then Mj getting his first ring.. has better numbers up to this point.. made it to the finals before MJ did (even tho he lost but he still carried a bunch of nobodies to the finals) Mj never did that.. it took teaming up with the greatest rebounder under 7 ft tall and a top 5 SF all time to get there.. and lebron is just hitting his strides.. now hes over the hump he could easily reel off a 3 peat as jordan and kobe did.
      im not saying he will but its way more then possibel.. who is the east or in the league for that matter is beating the Heat in a 7 game set?

  17. fazza says:

    biggest lebron fan! think he’s a beast. not really an MJ fan either think he was a lot like Ali in he made himself sound great, but unlike Ali don’t think he was actually as good as he made himself out to be. But for anyone to say that right now Lebron is better than MJ is an idiot. He may be better, I think he will be better, but his got a long way to go

  18. TTKIN says:

    USA wont lose any games this year and at the moment, most of these guys look like theyll be on the team in 4 years…I dont expect them to lose then either.

  19. YuhMudda says:

    Lebron is better than MJ .. Lebron is the greatest player of all time .. – mr dan from bdos

    • kayhacker says:

      I was one of those who always doubted MJ when he played for the Bulls and was a huge Nicks fan. But when i saw what MJ did and how he did it I had to admit that he was a special player.

      It’s not so much that he was a phenomenal player but It was what he did with every team mate that he played with, from Dennis Rodman, Steve Kerr, Scotty Pippen and the lot…he let them do their jobs at the highest level and when it came time to finish a game he was one of the most consistent closers that ever played the game.

      I’m sure there were other players like Magic and Bird but since I’ve been watching basketball since the mid 80’s MJ has my vote of the best basketball player to play the game.

    • kayhacker says:

      Lebron could be that kind of player too because he is unselfish and aspires to that but he still hasn’t close out enough games consistently to be at that level. I’m a huge Heat fan but up until the last 3 games of the 2012 finals I would have rather Wade finish the game than Lebron.

      But I think winning his first Championship has given him an understanding of what he needs to do if he expects to have more…elevate your teammates to their highest potential and take over and close the game out emphatically when the time comes. He’s promising but still a few rings away from being the greatest.

  20. Cedric says:

    The thing that annoys me the most with this team USA is they focus more on stealing the ball than defending the basketball against as a result they gave too much free throws opportunities to France and if they keep going that way it could be(maybe) troublesome against some stronger teams. That’s the difference between 92 and 2012 Yesterday they had the same amount of foul committed with France come on guys!!!!!

  21. Krishawn says:

    @ MRKnowItAll No one would’ve know about unknowns such as boobie gibson if it werent for Lebron..just sayin…
    an yes this years Olympic team has some flaws but i’m rootin for them all the way

  22. lbj says:

    James Naismith is the greatest basketball of all time

  23. MrKnowItAll says:

    The greatest players make those unknowns around them better, they dont seek to get by whos around them..

  24. Marc says:

    “LEBRON IS AND WILL BE THE GREATEST BASKETBALL PLAYER OF ALL TIME”
    I don’t know yet…but he is getting there.

    • kayhacker says:

      He’s still a few rings away from that! but we’ll see.

      • mastershaq says:

        so Karl Malone, Patrick Ewing, Regie Miller, Charles Barkley, are in the hall of famer because they pay for it, They dont have a ring they are bad players, and Jordan is not the best player ever, according to you, is Bill Russel the best player, nobody has more Rings that him, so, Bill you are the Best. men think before talk, because you dont have a valid argument to say what you are saying. Lebron if doesnt get a lor of injurys is going to be one of the best players ever. no doubt about it

      • ranfan says:

        Gaining rings is a team effort, not something measuring an individual athlete. There are 9 players that have more rings than Jordan, with the leader being Russell of course…

  25. mr person says:

    you’re not thinking straight

  26. nbafan says:

    agreed

  27. Kingdom says:

    LEBRON IS AND WILL BE THE GREATEST BASKETBALL PLAYER OF ALL TIME

    • MrKnowItAll says:

      pffffffftttttt…….

    • marlon green says:

      Anyways, congratulations team usa on beating France. I’m anxious to see the games against Argentina and how they hold up against Spains size. And for the record the 92 team would dismantle this guys. That team had NO FLAWS. For starters this team is not tough enough. They couldn’t handle Barkley’s and Malone physicality. Sure Lebron is huge but he doesn’t know how to throw hit weight around like those guys. A few shots from those 2 guys would surely get into some of these player heads. And all of the 92 players have incredibly high basketball I.Q.’s and were fundamentally sound. MJ and Kobe would probably even out and pippen would shut down KD. I’m not even gonna discuss what happens in the paint with their bigs.

      • kayhacker says:

        There is no need to compare Olympic teams from 20 years ago…it’s just showmanship. The US need to focus on bringing home the gold. They need to listen to Labron and Melo…not Kobe.

        For the record, I would rather have MJ on my team than Kobe. Kobe may match him in skill level but he has always lacked the leadership MJ had to inspire his teammates to greatness.

      • mastershaq says:

        brother, compare this, in 1992 Michael Jordan, nobody, has the number that Kobe has at the moment, after that I am not interesting, just until 92, that is the team that you are comparing, nobody has the number that Lebron has now, 3 mvp, no baskley, none of them, so think about it, since the team from 1992 start to play until 92, and the team of 2012 start to play until now, who has better number, and awards. yes the are eleven hall of famer, but that was after 1992, we are talking about 1992, stop in that point and make your comparison, and you will see who is better.

      • THE GUY in next door says:

        again people making issues when they say they can beat dream team 92 – of course, every competitor will say I can beat them – they wont say “I will lose” this is not even an issue to bring that up all the time – this is a different generation – comparing them will be a non-solution topic – because they won’t compete anyway… as Larry Bird said “we can’t beat them because we are 22 year older than them” lol

      • uoykcuf says:

        MJ and Kobe even it out? Oh my, I guess you never saw Jordan played live.

    • lbj says:

      dwight howard will go to Miami in exchange to haslem,anthony and future round picks!

    • lbj says:

      DWIGHT HOWARD IS THE GREATEST PLAYER OF ALL TIME! no doubt about it!

      • Bill128901 says:

        I dont know about greatest player, but certainly the greatest 3-point-shooter of all time.