The 2008 USA Olympic Team, best known as “The Redeem Team,” rose to prominence once again because of the Netflix hit documentary about the squad. But while many hoops fans worldwide are fascinated by the stories behind one of the greatest basketball teams ever formed, former USA Olympic Team captain Allen Iverson is hurting.
A.I. was devastated
Taking a quick trip down memory lane, the 2004 USA Olympic Team was spearheaded by Iverson and his fellow multi-time All-Star Tim Duncan. As we all know, Team USA always dominates, but that year, A.I. and the squad failed to cop the gold for the country as they succumbed to Argentina in the semi-finals.
Fueled by vengeance, Iverson badly wanted to run it back and join the 2008 USA Olympic Team. However, former USA Basketball director Jerry Colangelo sent him a letter, informing “The Answer” that he was no longer included in the team.
As expected, Iverson was devastated. Team USA managed to reclaim their throne, but the agony of not being part of something monumental for his country was too strong. In fact, Iverson admitted in 2015 that he was still hurting, and we can be sure he still is to this day.
“That one really stung,” Iverson said of being cut from USA Olympic Team via Bleacher Report. “That hurt. I still think about it to this day. I wanted it so bad. I wanted another shot. It was my chance to make it all right. I was all in. Me and Tim Duncan talked about it a lot. It was our dream to come back in four years and win gold.”
The inevitable happened
Looking back, it was unfortunate that Iverson and Duncan didn’t have the help they needed knowing the USA always had the best basketball players in the world. Undoubtedly, Team USA could’ve had another dominant run that year, but NBA superstars such as Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal, Jason Kidd, and Kevin Garnett, among others, opted not to play. Instead, the USA was prompted to proceed with only Iverson, Duncan, and Stephon Marbury in the frontline. LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony were there, but they haven’t hit their strides yet back then.
Unsurprisingly, the inevitable happened. Team USA suffered humiliating losses to Puerto Rico and Lithuania before capping off their Olympic run with a defeat to Argentina.
As for Iverson, not winning an NBA championship was the biggest disappointment in his legendary career, but not bringing home the gold for his country was just a different kind of pain.