Your Black Sports: US BBall Cuts it Close, Wins Gold

August 24, 2008

Even the joyous scene which followed the U.S. men’s basketball team’s thrilling 118-107 gold-medal victory against Spain was as selfless as the play which had defined their Olympic performance.

They gathered in a circle, arms draped around each other’s shoulders. On the podium, they stood arm in arm. Posing for pictures, they put all their medals around coach Mike Krzyzewski’s neck and then mussed his mostly unmovable hair. They did the same to the assistant coaches, even ruffling Jim Boeheim’s mostly non-existent hair.

Though Team USA had dominated these Games, winning by an average of 28 points, though they had beaten Spain by 37 points in pool play, Spain, even without injured point guard Jose Calderon challenged the U.S. until the final moments. Krzyzewski called it “one of the great games in international basketball history,” at least in recent U.S. history.

When Spain, the defending world champions, closed to within two points with 8:13 remaining on a Rudy Fernandez three-pointer, the U.S. didn’t flinch. “I think when you’re in the NBA and a team comes within two you’re confident you can make a play,” said Dwyane Wade, who led the U.S. with 27 points. “When we’re on this team and a team comes within two, you’re confident anyone can make a play. You’re not necessarily worried.”

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