When it comes to the game of basketball, the U.S.A. does it better than any other nation. For years, the country has dominated the basketball scene -- and it shows for almost every Olympic summer.
But in 2004, Team USA suffered a shocking defeat that had the whole world reeling. At the time, not even team Italy (who ended up with the Silver) believed they had a chance.
Former Italian coach and player Gianmarco Pozzecco had this to say about the shocking defeat.
"In the locker room, we bet on how many we would get: Bulleri threw them a -60. Then, I don't remember who, he said we could lose them even by just 20: we all burst out laughing, and we f**ked with him".
Team USA was pretty stacked in '04. The roster includes LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony, Tim Duncan, Stephon Marbury, and Allen Iverson. On paper, they were the best team by far.
But for whatever reason, the team just couldn't get it done that year, and it remains one of the biggest blemishes on Team USA's record.
Despite the fact that it happened over 15 years ago, Gregg Popovich is probably still thinking about that loss, who was an assistant on the team at the time.
“He has been totally focused and engrossed in this responsibility. This is big to him,” Colangelo told Michael Lee of The Athletic. “He said to the guys (Sunday night) in his talk, he’s been blessed with a lot of success. But in ‘04, what he went through, he said he wanted to jump in a hole by the whole thing. He’s lost a couple of big games in the playoffs, in the championship round. He talked about the last one they lost (to Miami in 2013). They pale in comparison to how bad he felt in ‘04, because he was representing his country. He said, that loss in Greece in the Olympics in ‘04, ‘was the worst defeat of my life.’ He says, ‘I still think about it.’”
Team USA would recover when they re-took the Gold years later, but they had to simmer on that defeat for a while.
It wouldn't be the last time Team USA took an L, but it was definitely one of the bigger disappointments in U.S. Olympic basketball history.
It was so unexpected that not even the opposing team thought they could win.