The U.S. men’s basketball team has lost 11 games in major international competition since NBA players began participating in the Olympics with the Dream Team in Barcelona in 1992 …
1. Lithuania 84, U.S. 82 — 1998 FIBA World Championship
The U.S.’ first loss in the Dream Team era, after it had won the 1992 Olympics, 1994 Worlds and 1996 Olympics with undefeated marks. The Americans dropped their second group-play game at worlds in Greece, but they didn’t have any NBA players amid the lockout. The roster included Duke star Trajan Langdon and Michigan Fab Fiver Jimmy King.
2. Russia 66, U.S. 64 — 1998 FIBA World Championship
Russia relegated the U.S. to the bronze-medal game when Sergey Panov dribbled the length of the floor and made a lay-up with four seconds left. The U.S. went scoreless for the last 3:08, and the defeat forced it to go to the FIBA Americas to qualify for the Sydney Olympics.
3. Argentina 87, U.S. 80 — 2002 FIBA World Championship
The U.S.’ first loss with NBA players in an international tournament, ending a 58-game win streak. The U.S. never led and trailed by as much as 20 to a team that included Manu Ginobili, playing before his rookie season with the San Antonio Spurs.
4. Yugoslavia 81, U.S. 78 — 2002 FIBA World Championship
The U.S. gets knocked out of medal contention at worlds in the quarterfinals against a team led by Vlade Divac and Peja Stojakovic. NBA superstars including Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett declined to play for Team USA at this event in Indianapolis.
5. Spain 81, U.S. 75 — 2002 FIBA World Championship
The U.S. blows a 13-point, fourth-quarter lead in the fifth-place game for a humiliating end to worlds as the host nation. ”The money and greed of the N.B.A.: does that have an effect on our competitive nature?” U.S. coach George Karl asked. ”Yeah, you can write that.”
6. Puerto Rico 92, U.S. 73 — 2004 Olympics
The Athens Games began with a stunner — a defeat to lowly Puerto Rico in the opening group-play game for the Americans’ first loss at the Olympics since they used college players in 1988. This U.S. team also lacked O’Neal, Bryant and Garnett, but not even Tim Duncan and Allen Iverson could reverse the curse of 2002. Utah Jazz backup point guard Carlos Arroyo had 24 points for Puerto Rico.
7. Lithuania 94, U.S. 90 — 2004 Olympics
Four years after nearly beating the U.S. in Sydney, the Lithuanians followed through in group play behind sharp-shooting Sarunas Jasikevicius. Fireworks thundered above the Lithuanian capital, Vilnius, after the game, and cheering fans poured into the streets, singing and waving flags.
8. Argentina 89, U.S. 81 — 2004 Olympics
No Olympic gold for the U.S. Argentina, again led by Ginobili, beat the U.S. in the semifinals en route to its one and only Olympic basketball title. Duncan was limited to 19 minutes by foul trouble. “You can’t just show up at a basketball game and feel that because you have USA across your chest you’re going to win the game,” Iverson said.
9. Greece 101, U.S. 95 — 2006 FIBA World Championship
A Greek team with zero NBA players hands the U.S. what would be its last major loss until 2019. This U.S. team had some stars, from LeBron James to Dwyane Wade to Dwight Howard, but it was its first tournament in a new era with Mike Krzyzewski at the helm. “We have to learn the international game better,” Krzyzewski said. “We learned a lot today because we played a team that plays amazing basketball and plays together.”
10. France 89, U.S. 79 — 2019 FIBA World Cup
France ends another U.S. 58-game win streak with NBA players in international tournaments. This U.S. roster had zero NBA superstars, just two 2019 All-Stars and one player with Olympic experience. The U.S. gets knocked out of the tournament in the quarterfinals, failing to earn a medal for the first time since 2002.
11. Serbia 94, U.S. 89 — 2019 FIBA World Cup
Serbia made it losses on back-to-back days for the U.S., ensuring the Americans record their worst-ever major international tournament result of seventh or eighth place. The Serbians led 32-7 after the first quarter in a rematch of the Rio Olympic final.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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