Dwyane Wade

Redeem Team
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Dwyane Wade: Redeem Team 2008 Olympic documentary in the works

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Dwyane Wade said he’s executive producing a documentary on the Redeem Team, the 2008 U.S. Olympic basketball squad that took gold in Beijing.

“It’s something that we’ve been working on for the last year or so,” Wade said on the Platform Basketball podcast published last week. “For me, that was a big year, 2008. I had to kind of redeem myself, because everybody thought I was done.

“But that was an amazing time, man, and, like, that team, dog? Oh my gosh. That team was special.”

Previously, ESPN aired a five-part documentary series leading up to the 2008 Beijing Games.

The team was three years in the making.

In 2005, USA Basketball, led by new managing director Jerry Colangelo and new coach Mike Krzyzewski, laid out a long-term commitment to be a member of the 2008 Olympic team.

Some players were eager to restore U.S. pride. Americans finished sixth, third and third at 2002 Worlds, 2004 Olympics and 2006 Worlds. Kobe Bryant and Chris Paul each said they valued a gold medal over an NBA title.

Since the Dream Team in 1992, more and more NBA superstars were passing on Olympic participation, some citing a need for rest after a long NBA season. Beijing stopped that bleeding. Bryant played at his first Olympics. James, Wade and Chris Bosh hatched a friendship that led to their Miami Heat gathering.

The team ran undefeated to a gold-medal game against Spain, with a prime Pau Gasol and a 17-year-old Ricky Rubio. La Roja drew to 104-99 with 3:32 left before Bryant drilled a three and drew Rudy Fernandez‘s fifth and final foul. Spain cut it to 108-104 with 2:25 to go. Then Wade hit his fourth three-pointer of the game, and the Americans finished it off 118-107.

As Wade mentioned, that triumph was personally meaningful. After winning the 2006 NBA title, he missed 31 games the next season, including during one game being wheeled off in a chair with a dislocated shoulder. His Heat were swept out of the first round of the playoffs.

Wade underwent shoulder and knee surgeries in the 2007 offseason. In 2007-08, the Heat had the worst record in the league.

But at the Olympics, Wade led the Redeem Team in scoring. The Heat were back in the playoffs in 2008-09. James and Bosh joined for the following season, and they won back-to-back titles in 2012 and 2013.

MORE: LeBron James’ status for Tokyo Olympics unclear

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Star Olympians continue to highlight ESPN’s Body Issue

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ESPN the Magazine announced Tuesday a roster of 19 athletes for this year’s Body Issue, and 10 are Olympians. That’s the most Olympic athletes since 2012.

The list likely will grow to 11 with the coming announcement of the U.S. Olympic women’s soccer team, as World Cup veteran Christen Press will appear in the magazine. Paratriathlete Allysa Seely is also on ESPN’s roster, and she is set to make her Paralympic debut as her sport is included in the Games for the first time.

The Body Issue will appear online July 6 and hit newsstands two days later. It will be highlighted by basketball star Dwyane Wade, who competed in the 2004 and 2008 Games. He’d been asked to pose for the issue before, but finally agreed after seven years.

“It’s bigger than me showing my body off,” Wade said. “That’s not as important to me as telling a story of overcoming a fear. It hopefully gives someone confidence to really be their authentic self.”

Also from the basketball court will be Elena Delle Donne, who will make her Olympic debut in Rio this summer. Wrestler Adeline Gray will also appear in the magazine before making her Olympic debut.

Baseball will be represented by Jake Arrieta, who pitched and won bronze for Team USA at the 2008 Beijing Games, the sport’s last appearance in the Olympics.

Other current Olympians appearing in the Body Issue will be swimmer Nathan Adrian (three-time medalist from 2008 and ’12 Games), steeplechase runner Emma Coburn (2012 Olympics), fencer Nzingha Prescod (2012 Olympics), beach volleyball player April Ross (silver medalist in 2012), and boxer Claressa Shields (gold medalist in 2012).

Retired diver Greg Louganis will also appear as the issue’s oldest athlete. The 56-year-old won a silver medal in 1976, and then two gold medals at each of the 1984 and ’88 Olympics.

MORE: Olympians in 2015 Body Issue | 2014 Body Issue | 2013 Body Issue