LONDON — UPDATE 12:17 p.m. Medal ceremony going on right now. U.S. clad in smooth black warm ups to snag their gold medals. They won 107-100 to claim their second straight Olympic gold over Spain.
To repeat or not to repeat: that is the question facing the U.S. Men’s Senior National Team today, just minutes away from their gold medal rematch with Spain in the Olympic finals.
(Sorry, but a visit to London without at least one Billy Shakespeare reference would have been a travesty. We had to go there.)
They did this four years ago, playing a to-the-wire game in Beijing that the U.S. pulled out late for a 118-107 victory that both sides have had four long years to think about.
You know Spain’s big man brother duo of Pau and Marc Gasol have been thinking about it and hearing about it since then, especially Pau (something tells me Kobe Bryant has brought it up a time or two over the years).
Spain actually had one distinct advantage over the U.S. four years ago, in that the core group of their roster had been playing together for years, “since they were 12 or 13,” according to point guard Jose Calderon.
The U.S. has closed that gap. USA Basketball’s program is as solid as it’s been in years and arguably ever, courtesy of the commitment of guys like Bryant, LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, Kevin Durant and others.
A second straight gold medal validates everything USA Basketball chairman and managing director Jerry Colangelo and U.S. coach Mike Krzyzewski have worked to build since taking over the program after the debacle at the 2004 Olympics in Athens.