It was probably a foregone conclusion that Dream Team 2012 was going to be in the gold-medal game on Sunday. The team won its Olympic tournament games by an average of 36 points. The USA will face Spain in the gold-medal game on Sunday, Aug. 12, live on NBC (yes, LIVE on NBC!) at 10am ET. It’s a repeat of the 2008 final at the Beijing Games, with the USA winning that game 118-107. Beating Spain again would give the USA 17 medals in men’s Olympic basketball — 14 of them gold. The USA tore through Argentina 109-83 and Spain defeated Russia 67-59 to get to the final. Team USA says that Spain’s size may pose a “challenge” to them, but that’s just sportsmanship and respecting the opponent that you’re about to trounce.
When the original Dream Team took the floor at the Olympics 20 years ago, everyone was in awe that such a team of the world’s best players — all-time greats of the game — could be assembled and play together. Maybe other countries are still in awe of Team USA, even though basketball talent has soared globally since then. But I suspect, for most American basketball fans, they take Olympic competition as casually as the players do. Now the only time anyone takes a serious interest in the men’s Olympic team is when they don’t win. Rooting against LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and Mike Krzyzewski does not make you any less of an American. In fact, it’s something of an American pastime.