Amid “The Last Dance” breaking records, and becoming the most viewed documentary in ESPN history, a lot of speculation occurred about the release of other basketball-related documentaries. Most notably, it was reported that Kobe Bryant had an all-access film crew documenting his final season in the league, which got fans excited about. However, only time will tell whether the exclusive footage sees the light of day.
Former Miami Heat superstar Dwyane Wade recently announced his production of a documentary about the “Redeem Team,” covering USA’s gold medal run at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. Wade talked about it on the Platform Basketball Podcast, saying it’s a project that he and the team have been working on for some time.
“We’re doing a documentary on the 2008 Redeem Team. It’s something that we’ve been working on for the past year or so, so I’m executive producing it with a good team. I can’t wait because, for me, that was a big year. In 2008, I had to kind of redeem myself ’cause everybody thought I was done. That was an amazing time, man. And, like, that team, dog? Oh my god.”
Dwayne Wade, via Swish Cultures
That team was indeed special. After finishing sixth, third, and third in the 2002 Worlds, 2004 Olympics and 2006 Worlds, the Americans were eager to put the USA back on top. They gathered the group of best players the NBA had to offer in a collective attempt to restore USA basketball’s legacy. Mike Krzyzewski’s team led by the team’s captain Kobe Bryant featured NBA’s biggest superstars like LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, among others. They put together an undefeated run, winning the gold medal and restoring USA Basketball’s international dominance. USA wasn’t seriously challenged until the finals of the tournament where they were facing Spain – a team full of former, current and soon-to-be NBA players – most notably Pau Gasol, 17-year old Ricky Rubio, Marc Gasol, and Rudy Fernandez. Spain was only down by 5 with 3:32 left on the clock when Bryant made a four-point play, drawing Fernandez’s fifth foul and securing the gold medal for the USA basketball.
Dwyane Wade also had something to prove after missing 62 games in the two seasons leading up to the 2008 Olympics. The Heat got swept in the first round of the 2007 NBA playoffs and had the worst record in the league the following year. Wade saw the Olympics as the opportunity to get back in the rhythm and use it as an overture for the upcoming NBA season. His redemption came in the form of leading the team in scoring and scoring some crucial buckets in the finals to help them secure the gold medal.
Wade gave us a glimpse at stories surrounding the 2008 USA team when he talked about how Kobe trash-talked opponents speaking in their native language. Flash spoke about how the whole team was centered around Kobe Bryant, comparing his stardom to what’s been shown in The Last Dance about how Michael Jordan was treated internationally.
“Yeah, dude. That man was coldblooded. We’d get in a competition, and he would talk to other players in their language, and we don’t know what he’s saying. It was dope just even being around him. You’ve seen The Last Dance when everybody ran up on Jordan when he was in Paris? That’s how it was for Kobe in China. And you got some of the best players in the world on this team but it was Kobe. It was all about Kobe.”
Dwayne Wade, via Swish Cultures
Wade didn’t reveal the release date of the documentary but has undoubtedly made fans around the world excited about seeing it. It’s good to know that after The Last Dance is fully released, there is still something waiting for us in the world of basketball documentaries, and Wade’s announcement assured us that something special is coming.