It was high fives all around as the United States fought off Spain for Olympic gold.
Garrett Ellwood/NBAE/Getty Images

USA Returns To Gold Standard

Redeem Team, indeed.

After eight long years, the United States returned to its customary place atop the basketball world, winning the gold medal at the 2008 Olympics with an emotional and hard-fought 118-107 victory over determined Spain.

After knocking off its first seven foes by an average of more than 30 points, the Americans found themselves in a one-possession game in the fourth quarter against the 2006 World Champions, who had lost to the USA by 37 points in group play but showed plenty of character and heart in this contest. Then the U.S. began displaying some redeeming qualities of its own.

The leader was NBA MVP Kobe Bryant, who simply took over. After Spain closed to 91-89, he made a tough runner, found Deron Williams for a 3-pointer, added another hoop and broke up an alley-oop pass to rebuild the lead to 105-94. When the margin dwindled again to four points, Bryant stuck in the dagger, draining a 3-pointer and drawing a foul for a 108-99 bulge with 3:10 to go.

Dwyane Wade scored 27 points, Bryant added 20 and LeBron James 14 for the U.S., which had not won gold since the 2000 Olympics. The Americans failed to medal at the 2002 World Championships and received bronze at the 2004 Olympics and the 2006 World Championships, prompting an overhaul of USA Basketball.

Rudy Fernandez scored 22 points, Pau Gasol added 21 and Juan Carlos Navarro 18 for Spain, which only lost to the U.S. in this tournament and claimed a silver medal to match its best Olympic showing (1984).

  • Aug. 24 vs. Spain - Redemption Complete | Pics: Action | Recap | Box Score

  • Aug. 22 vs. Argentina - U.S. Advances to Finals | Photos | Recap | Box Score

  • Aug. 20 vs. Australia - Boards and Bryant Push U.S. Into Semis | Photos | Recap | Box Score

  • Aug. 18 vs. Germany - U.S. More Than Ready for Elimination Play | Recap | Box Score

  • Aug. 16 vs. Spain - U.S. Sends Another Message | Photo Gallery | Box Score

  • Aug. 14 vs. Greece - A Win Two Years in the Making | Photo Gallery | Box Score

  • Aug. 12 vs. Angola - U.S. Wins, but Still Has Issues to Address | Photo Gallery | Box Score | Recap

  • Aug. 10 vs. China - U.S. Men Off to a Good Start | Photo Gallery | Box Score | Recap

  • Aug. 5 vs. Australia - Schuhmann: U.S. Lacks Energy | Photo Gallery | Box Score | Recap

  • Aug. 3 vs. Russia - Schuhmann: U.S. Plays at Russia’s Pace | Photo Gallery | Box Score | Recap

  • Aug. 1 vs. Lithuania - Schuhmann: U.S. Passes Test | Photo Gallery | Box Score | Recap

  • July 31 vs. Turkey - Schuhmann: U.S. Turns Up Defense | Photo Gallery | AP recap | Box Score

  • McMenamin: U.S.A.’s ’Practice’ Near Perfection Against Canada | Box Score | Recap

    2008 Olympic Basketball Tournament Preview
    The 2008 Olympic Draw took place Saturday, April 26 in Beijing. Nine out of the 12 qualified teams were split into two groups that will compete in preliminary round play from Aug. 10-18. The three remaining slots in the competition will be determined in a 12-team tournament held in Greece from July 14-20 ... Read More

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    TEAM USA COACHING STAFF
    Name Position Team/Univ
    Mike Krzyzewski Head Coach Duke University
    Jim Boeheim Assistant Coach Syracuse University
    Mike D'Antoni Assistant Coach New York Knicks
    Nate McMillan Assistant Coach Portland Trail Blazers

    TEAM USA HISTORY
  • Hoopedia: USA Senior National Team (Men)
  • 2007: Gold at FIBA Americas
  • 2006: Bronze at FIBA World Championship
  • 2004: Bronze at Athens Summer Olympics
  • 1992: Gold at Barcelona Summer Olympics
  • 15-Year Anniversary: Chuck Daly reflects on the original Dream Team