Team With Allen Iverson, Tim Duncan and LeBron James Managed To Finish in Third Place

Published on December 3rd, 2022 6:15 pm EST
Written By: Dave Manuel

The story of the 2004 USA Olympics basketball team.  In photo: Allen Iverson. The 2004 US Olympic men's basketball team performed so poorly that the next iteration of the team (2008) was called the "Redeem Team".

Imagine a team filled with the likes of Allen Iverson, LeBron James and Tim Duncan that only managed to finish in third place in the Olympics?

This is what happened in 2004.


Things got off to a bad start for the 2004 team when three key players - Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett and Tracy McGrady - decided to decline their invites to join the team.

This led organizers to scramble to fill out the team, and they elected to include three rookies - LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Dwyane Wade.

Obviously all three men went on to have outstanding careers, but they were all just rookies at the time.

The rest of the roster included the likes of Allen Iverson, Stephon Marbury, Shawn Marion and Tim Duncan, to name a few.

Certainly not the best team that the United States could field, but good enough to easily win gold.

Or so everyone thought.


The team's first game of the 2004 Olympics resulted in one of the most embarrassing losses in the history of the country, as Puerto Rico won by a score of 92-73.

Puerto Rico didn't just win - they blew out the American team.

Just one game into the tournament and the team of NBA professionals were already looking frustrated and disjointed.

The USA regrouped and would win their next two games, but not exactly in convincing fashion, as they would win 77-71 against Greece and 89-79 against Australia.

In the fourth game of group play, the United States would lose their second game of the Olympics, dropping a closely contested game to Lithuania by a score of 94-90.

In the final game of group play, the United States would blow out Angola.


The US had some very obviously issues as they proceeded into the knockout rounds - namely outside shooting and defense.

The United States was finding it impossible to stop their competition, and they were woefully bad from three-point land.

This meant that when the USA would fall behind in games, they would have a very hard time fighting back.

Things seemed to get back on track in the quarter-finals, as the USA would beat a very good Spanish team by a score of 102-94.

Next up? Argentina.

The USA would end up losing this semi-final game by a score of 89-81, and they would now be playing for the bronze medal.

A shocking loss for the United States - even without the likes of Kobe Bryant, etc., the US team was more than good enough to win the gold medal, but they simply couldn't work out their issues in time.


To the credit of the United States, they managed to regroup to win the bronze medal by defeating Lithuania in the third place game.

Still, the end result was humiliating for the world's basketball power, and the top US basketball players vowed that it wouldn't happen again in 2008.

As a result of the 2004 fiasco, the "Redeem Team" was born.

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