Remember When Team USA Basketball Needed To Get Its Act Together?
A Quick TV Review
â"Bring back the gold" is the mission both ordered and acknowledged clearly by basketball stars Kobe Bryant and LeBron James ahead of Beijing 2008. And they, along with their Team USA colleagues, do just that, as recounted by "The Redeem Team", a Netflix documentary released on Friday, and which documents the 2008 return to basketball dominance for Team USA.
Laying the blame for that on a lack of respect for the increasingly-strong international game, and the poor mix and use of selected veterans and younger players, USA Basketball's response is the hiring of Jerry Colangelo as general manager and of Mike Krzyzewski as head coach to set order. Shaping a team built on a multi-year commitment and instilled with a stirring sense of team (USA) duty, the mission is set.
Four players - James, Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade, and Carlos Boozer, return from that ill-fated 2004 team seeking team and personal redemption, but the real catalyst is the inclusion of Kobe Bryant. A superstar looking to rehabilitate his own image, Bryant sets a dedicated and focused tone on the team.
His appearance also sets a focused tone on The Redeem Team as the program goes as the team does: influenced by his presence and in awe of his commitment. His addition to the team - and to The Redeem Team - provides the jolt needed for the story arc's completion.
As Paris 2024 approaches, and as Team France in particular bolsters its credentials, it might take a renewed sense of mission by top U.S. stars to secure the gold again. Both Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020 teams faced some struggle in attracting that top-level. Next year's World Cup in Asia will certainly be a roster test for Team USA, and its commitment to retain its global leadership. Will we need another 'Redeem Team' soon?