Skip to main content

Patrick Ewing on why "it's harder for Team USA to play now because of Dream Team"

Dream-Team--Team-USA-Olympics-2021--Patrick-Ewing-min

With 3:20 remaining in the fourth, Team USA had a 7 point lead against France. They proceeded to miss nine straight shots, allowing the French to close the game on a 16-2 run and snap the U.S. 25-game winning streak with an 83-76 victory in the Olympic opener.

This is now the USA's third loss this month under Gregg Popovich-- they fell to Nigeria and Australia in back-to-back exhibition games. For comparison, Mike Krzyzewski went 88-1 as Team USA's head coach since 2005. But losing to France didn't come as a surprise to Pop.

However, the whole basketball world was in shock after the USA's loss on Sunday, especially since this is clearly not, nor will it be, an isolated case moving forward. The only question is, is that fair on those 12 guys wearing red, white, and blue?

For years, winning the Olympic gold medal was a lock for a basketball team representing the U.S. Then came 2004 and a shocking semi-final loss to Argentina that forced the USA to settle for bronze. The 2008 Redeem Team re-established American dominance on the world stage, followed by two gold medals in 2012 and 2016. But this year might be different.

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

The 12-man roster representing the U.S in Tokyo is far from the best America has to offer -- Steph Curry, LeBron James, James Harden, Anthony Davis are among those missing from the team. Nevertheless, it's 'gold or bust' for the Kevin Durant-led group. Is that fair? Not according to Patrick Ewing, who points to Dream Team as standard of success this year's team is unfairly being held to.

It's harder to play now because of the Dream Team. All of the current players grew up looking up to us & watching us dominate the rest of the world. But the rest of the world caught up. Some of the NBA's top players today come from all over the world. It wasn't like that back then.

Patrick Ewing, New York Post

Popovich said something along the same lines after the game. “I think that’s a little bit of hubris if you think the Americans are supposed to just roll out the balls and win,” he said. “We’ve got to work for it just like everybody else. And for those 40 minutes, they played better than we did.”

Two exhibition game losses obviously haven't been a wake-up call for Team USA. But falling to France better be. Not just because they can and will step it up a notch, but because that's necessary for them to secure their fourth straight Olympic gold medal. Other teams won't just hand it out to them, especially since the quality gap is as close as it's ever been since 2004.

Basketball is a global sport no longer dominated exclusively by Americans. So maybe it's also time for fans to adjust their expectations accordingly. The cake-walk days are over. Even if Team USA wins it all, it won't be as easy as it used to be. That's why losing to France should shock no one. There might be more where that came from.

Russell Westbrook

Russell Westbrook hasn't committed a turnover in two games, and it's the first time in his career

Los Angeles Lakers Russell Westbrook hasn't committed a turnover in two games following their victories over the Portland Trailblazers and Milwaukee Bucks

Zach Lowe & Kendrick Perkins

Come on now Perk, I don’t want to fight with you Perk" - Zach Lowe goes in on Kendrick Perkins' MVP list

ESPN's Zach Lowe disagrees with Kendrick Perkins' MVP list that includes Indiana Pacers' Tyrese Haliburton and not Golden State Warriors Stephen Curry

Charles Barkley

Charles Barkley’s guarantee that the USMNT would beat the Netherlands in the 2022 World Cup aged like sour milk

Barkley guaranteed that the US would beat the Netherlands, and promptly caught a lot of flak after they failed to do so

Stephon Marbury as a member of the New Jersey Nets in 2000

"They picked the wrong coach at the time" - Stephon Marbury on why the 2004 USA Olympic Team failed terribly

It is unknown if Starbury and Brown ever ended their feud which began at the 2004 Olympics.

Philadelphia 76ers center Moses Malone and center Darryl Dawkins

“Moses Malone did help me make up my mind” — why Darryl Dawkins jumped straight from high school to the NBA

Darryl Dawkins was inspired and motivated by how Moses Malone quickly hit his stride in the pros despite coming straight out of high school.

Dennis Rodman is honored during halftime as an NBA 75th anniversary team member at the 2022 NBA All-Star Game at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse

How Dennis Rodman became successful in marketing the bad boy image in the NBA

Dennis Rodman didn't try to tame his wild side and instead use it to market himself as a bad boy in the NBA.