In an often-overlooked story, the 2008 US Men's Olympic basketball team made magic. Led by two NBA superstars, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James (who many thought couldn't play together) and coached by Mike Krzyzewski (a “college guy” many first dismissed as unable to handle pro players) the US overcame the stifling embarrassment of their 2004 showing and won a decisive gold victory in 2008. Hosts Jack McCallum and J.A Adande begin a fascinating exploration of how the 2008 "Redeem Team" also succeeded in much more: it not only made the tough and fundamental move of changing a culture that had grown toxic in the years following the Dream Team’s world conquest in 1992 but also marked an historical inflection point in NBA basketball that set the stage for everything — and every superstar player — that has come since. Hear a revealing interview with current Portland Trailblazer and former Redeem Teamer, Carmelo Anthony, as well as interviews with Redeem Teamer and now assistant coach for the LA Lakers, Jason Kidd, the one and only Phil Jackson of numerous Chicago Bulls and LA Lakers NBA victories, and Coach K himself, Mike Krzyzewski.
FROM THE EPISODE:
JACK MCCALLUM: I’m Jack McCallum, who brought you The Dream Team Tapes podcast and this is its worthy sequel. The story of The Redeem Team — sometimes overlooked — is, on its own, in my opinion, every bit as intriguing as the Dream Team that proceeded them by 16 years. One of the things I've found out by doing The Dream Team Tapes is how eager these guys were to talk about it. For even guys that were All-Stars, Hall of Famers, won championships, it was a really special time in their lives. Which is why I was able to get inside the heads of players like Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, and Magic Johnson.
In the same way, The Redeem Team defines a lot of these guys' careers. In the coming weeks you're going to be hearing from the players, the coaches, and the executives who were so eager to share their thoughts on what was an important part in their lives. So here's a quick snapshot of some of those voices you'll be hearing:
ROBERT HORRY: We understood the pecking order. We knew Kobe and LeBron were going to shoot the ball or, more or less, Kobe was going to shoot the ball.
JASON KIDD: I’ve never said this, but I remember sitting there and watching those guys. When we were in harmony, you can't play better than this
COACH K: The most pressure moment I've ever had as a coach was the gold medal game with eight minutes to go.
JACK MCCALLUM: The year is 2008: The Games of the 29th Olympiad. An American basketball team — an American basketball program, really — bent on turning around its diminished fortunes, which included a 6th place finish in the 2002 World Championships and even worse, a mere Bronze Medal in the 2004 Olympics in Athens. The United States team was on a mission. There was magic in the air.
Actually there was smog in the air. Hey, we're in Beijing after all, but this 2008 team turned out to be a breath of fresh air for our Olympic program. But it wasn't easy.
I'll be joined by J.A. Adande, who himself was heard recently talking about a Dream Teamer, somebody named Michael Jordan, in the terrific, “Beyond the Last Dance” that he did with B.J. Armstrong, a former teammate of Jordan's...
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