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Twelve years after The Dream Team steamrolled through Barcelona and won Olympic gold as the greatest team to ever grace the hardwood, the 2004 version of USA Basketball was more of nightmare.

The team, which was without some of its country’s best athletes —who didn’t care to play for various reasons —never found cohesiveness and left Athens with only a bronze medal.

The team started the tournament with a 92-73 loss to Puerto Rico, the worst loss suffered by an American basketball team in the history of international competition.

What was worse than the loss, though, was the lack of accountability among the players. There were complaints about playing time, accusations of playing lazy basketball and what seemed like a general lack of pride on the court.

It seems now, though, that the attitude at USA Basketball has changed. The roster is a laundry list of superstars that on paper should dominate any team standing in its way.

The Valley’s own Jerry Colangelo, who was appointed managing director of the USA Basketball Men’s Senior National Team on April 27, 2005, has been heavily responsible for a new outlook for USA Basketball.

While often over the past decade an American Olympic team has been pulled together at the last minute, Colangelo has made it a point to build a national program instead of just putting together a roster of all-star players.

It’s funny how a guy with a name like Mike Krzyzewski is synonymous with the word “program.”

Colangelo’s selection of the legendary Duke University head coach on Oct 28, 2005 made it clear that USA Basketball would be taking a disciplined approach in preparing for the next Olympic Games.

Well those Olympics are now just days away, and while there has been much discussion about the resurgence of USA Basketball and the pride the players are taking in playing for their country, quite frankly the time for talk is over.

While Jordan, Magic, Bird and Barkley won’t be lacing up their sneakers in Beijing, there is no reason a roster with names like LeBron, Kobe, Wade and Carmello can’t reignite the term Dream Team all over again.

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