The Dream Team and the Redeem Team star on NBCSN Olympic Games Week on Wednesday, among four Olympic men’s basketball finals airing in succession.
First, it’s Beijing 2008 at 7 p.m. ET. The Redeem Team was born out of the 2004 Athens Games, where the U.S. lost three games en route to bronze, and the 2006 World Championship, another bronze medal.
Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski, who succeeded Larry Brown as the U.S. head coach, guided a 2008 team with a renewed determination after many NBA stars declined to play at the 2000 and 2004 Olympics.
The late Kobe Bryant played his first Olympics in Beijing. The roster also included LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Carmelo Anthony. The Americans dominated, winning eight games by an average of 27.8 points.
The final against Spain, led by Pau Gasol, proved close. The U.S.’ lead was cut to two in the fourth quarter before Bryant ignited a 12-2 run following a timeout.
“The Redeem Team, we needed a hell of a fourth quarter to beat Spain,” Bryant said in 2019. “Put the best players that you think are going to make the best U.S. team out on the floor – it’s still not going to be a cake walk. The days of 1992 are over.”
The 1992 Olympic final follows 2008 on NBCSN on Wednesday at 9 p.m. The Dream Team drilled Croatia 117-85, its closest of eight contests to bring its average winning margin down to 43.8 points per game.
Michael Jordan paced the effort with 22 points, on a roster that included 11 future individual Basketball Hall of Famers, plus collegian Christian Laettner. (The whole team would be inducted in 2010.) It was the first Olympics with NBA participation.
Later Wednesday are the 2012 and 2000 Olympic finals.
In 2012, the U.S. was again coached by Krzyzewski and led by Bryant, James and Co. Spain again the final opponent. Again, it was close. The U.S. led by one going into the fourth quarter before breaking it open to double digits and taking off its starters to a standing ovation.
The 2000 Sydney Games marked a foreshadowing of what was to come in 2004. The roster lacked some of the NBA’s biggest stars at the time — Shaquille O’Neal, Allen Iverson, Tim Duncan and Bryant.
The Americans eked out an 85-83 win over Lithuania in the semifinals, after Sarunas Jasikevicius missed a buzzer-beating three-point attempt. In the final, a French team with zero NBA players cut the lead to four with four minutes left before the U.S. pulled away.
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NBCSN Olympic Games Week — Wednesday, April 22
|Time (ET)||Program||Events||Live Stream|
|7 p.m.||Olympic Classics||Men’s Basketball 2008 Final||Stream Link|
|9 p.m.||Olympic Classics||Men’s Basketball 1992 Final||Stream Link|
|11 p.m.||Olympic Classics||Men’s Basketball 2012 Final||Stream Link|
|1 a.m.||Olympic Classics||Men’s Basketball 2000 Final||Stream Link|
|2:30 a.m.||Mary Carillo||Summer Olympic Adventures||Stream Link|