Who: 2004 USA Men's Basketball
Olympics: Athens 2004
In all fairness to the 2004 team, it wasn’t anywhere near the same group as the 2003 team that qualified by dominating the Tournament of the Americas. Players like Tracy McGrady, Vince Carter, Jermaine O’Neal and Jason Kidd all dropped out, largely due to fears of terrorism. It also didn’t help that Kobe Bryant was spending his time in Colorado facing a rape charge. Despite not having some great players, Team USA still had Tim Duncan and Allen Iverson at the peak of their abilities to lead them. Shoot-first guards in Iverson and Stephon Marbury didn't mesh well with FIBA play. The team lacked the necessary playmaking, shooting and rebounding that the international game requires. But really, the blame should fall on coach Larry Brown for not playing youngsters LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade and Amar’e Stoudemire enough. He instead started Richard Jefferson, who managed to shoot 3-16 on field goals and 0-6 on threes in the opening-game loss to Puerto Rico. While starting all eight games, Jefferson shot a miserable 32 percent from the field, 26 percent from three and 55 percent from the free throw line. The US men went on to win a disappointing bronze medal in Athens finishing 5-3. How did we lose to a country the size of Connecticut in a sport we invented?