Team USA suffered yet another defeat, this time on the Olympic Stage. Team USA lost to France 83-76 in their opening games at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. This was the first loss for Team USA since the 2004 Olympics in Athens. Despite their quality, their loss comes as no surprise, given their poor form during their friendly games against Australia and Nigeria.
Team USA has been on the downward trend over the last two years, going back to their bad performance at the 2019 FIBA World Championship. Currently, the US could be in jeopardy of losing their streak of winning the Gold medal at the Olympics. Team USA has won the Gold medal for three consecutive Olympics from 2008 till 2016. The US has the best players in the world but is struggling on the international stage. Many fans are wondering - why is this happening?
Former Dream Team member and New York Knicks legend Patrick Ewing seems to have an answer. In a recent interview with the New York Post, Ewing was asked what he thinks of Team USA's struggles so far. He believes that they are feeling the pressure of their nation's legacy in the sport.
Given how successful Team USA has been on the international stage, there are built-in expectations for the team. Furthermore, over the last few years, the rest of the world has improved greatly with regards to its rosters. The NBA has a greater international presence now than it has had at any point in history. And those players are now representing their nations.
“I’m rooting for Coach Popovich and the U.S. Team. It’s an unfortunate time we’re living in right now — losing players to COVID-19 protocols. It’s harder to play now because of the Dream Team. All of the current players grew up looking up to us and watching us dominate the rest of the world. But the rest of the world caught up. There are so many talented players. Some of the NBA’s top players today come from all over the world. It wasn’t like that back then.’’
Ewing hopes that Team USA can improve on their opening performance against France, as they make a run for their fourth consecutive Olympic Gold Medal. Players like Kevin Durant, Damian Lillard, and Jayson Tatum will have to step up in order for Team USA to make strides in the tournament.