(via Lakers Nation)

Following their worst performance in team history, USA basketball fans can’t help but find themselves shocked and appalled at the way it all ended this year. Following a string of unexpected drop-outs, only a few players from the original roster actually ended up playing with the team this summer.

So what can we expect moving forward? Was this year just a fluke, or is Team USA done with their days of cake walking through the competition?

In an interview with Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press, 5x NBA Champion, and two-time Olympic gold medalist Kobe Bryant made the case for the latter.

“It’s not going to be a cakewalk. The days of the 1992 Barcelona Dream Team are gone, over.”

“It’s not a matter of the rest of the world catching up to the U.S. It’s that the rest of the world has been caught up for quite some time,” Bryant said. “It’s to the point now where the U.S., we’re going to win some and we’re going to lose some. That’s just how it goes.

“We’re going to have our challenges for the next team, whether it’s Redeem 2 or whatever you want to call it,” Bryant continued. “No matter what team it is, it’s not going to be easy.”

This year saw, perhaps, the weakest roster in USA history, with only two players having been All-Stars. At our best, it’s hard to say things won’t get easier.

But make no mistake: the world is catching up. And unless we’re at our absolute best, we stand just as vulnerable as the rest.

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