The '08 USA Olympic was nicknamed the "Redeem Team," as they set on the mission of repairing USA's basketball reputation following the '04 Athens fiasco. But even that team loaded with superstars had its struggles and a key moment in their success involved none other than Kobe Bryant.
Led by the two biggest superstars of the NBA at the time, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James, many question marks surrounded the team, with the pressure of returning the gold to the United States after the '04 Athens Olympics. Kobe and LeBron never played together, and many experts questioned how their games would mesh, especially with a college coach Mike Krzyzewski leading them.
In a close Finals match against Spain, Kobe took over to lead LeBron, Wade, Bosh, Paul, and the rest to victory. There was a lot of potential on that team, but the Finals made it clear who was the alpha in the group. A similar story was developing behind the scenes.
Carmelo Anthony spoke on "The Dream Team Tapes: Kobe, LeBron & The Redeem Team" from Diversion Podcasts about that team and how the most memorable moment of that tournament for him was seeing Kobe Bryant entirely buying into the team and letting his guard down, enabling them to reach their full potential.
"You saw him slowly letting his guard down and those bricks beginning to fall. He was fully immersed in what we were doing...You almost felt a sense of victory seeing him laughing the way he was laughing, communicating with the guys, and sharing stories."
Carmelo Anthony, Diversion Podcast
Even though he was a massive individual, Kobe understood what he meant to the team and how he could help all the other guys be better and work just as hard as him. The fierce competitor in Kobe put his lion instincts aside and bonded with the group.
That was what the team had to offer Kobe, allowing him and showing him how to be a part of a group of players that are lions just like him. That way, they could all trust each other and make everybody better. It is an incredible story of a group of world-class players putting their egos aside and creating one of the best teams ever.