Basketball Diaries: Some of the best Olympic moments

Olympic Basketball has experienced some epic moments, etched forever into the game’s history.

From the 1992 USA Dream Team winning their Olympic gold to Argentina clinching their first yellow medal in 2004 - basketball has witnessed some unforgettable moments in recent times, as history recorded some of the greatest dunks and comebacks on an international level.

Let's flick through some pages from the basketball diaries that were written at the Olympics.

Members of the USA ‘Dream Team’ flaunt their gold medal at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics
Members of the USA ‘Dream Team’ flaunt their gold medal at the 1992 Barcelona OlympicsMembers of the USA ‘Dream Team’ flaunt their gold medal at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics

The Dream Team

The USA and basketball share an unbreakable bond. The sport is played across the country producing some of the best players from the National Basketball Association (NBA) league, and they eventually go on to represent the national team on the world stage.

The 1992 United States men's Olympic basketball team, also known as the ‘Dream Team’ due to the inclusion of some of the NBA's best talent in

Michael Jordan, Earvin Johnson and Larry Bird, entered the basketball tournament in Barcelona.

After wiping out Angola with a point difference of 68, they made their way past opponents who failed to bring them down. The 10 men marched into the finals with ease and defeated Croatia 117-85 to win the gold.

USA's Lisa Leslie stands with her team-mates after taking basketball gold at the 1996 Olympic Games
USA's Lisa Leslie stands with her team-mates after taking basketball gold at the 1996 Olympic GamesUSA's Lisa Leslie stands with her team-mates after taking basketball gold at the 1996 Olympic Games

The Year of the Woman

1996 is remembered as the ‘Year of the Woman’. That’s because it was an era when female athletes brought home several gold medals.

The USA women's basketball team too did not disappoint when they made their way into the Olympics. They topped their table with 10 points, going unbeaten into the knockout phases of the Games.

The Americans then surpassed Japan in the knockouts, and Australia in the semis, to eventually face Brazil, who had made their way to the finals.

Names like Sheryl Swoopes, Lisa Leslie and Dawn Staley contributed toward their team’s success and played a bigger role in defeating the Brazilians to win with a difference of 24 points.

The Dunk of Death

During the 2000 Sydney Olympics, a strong French side dominated the basketball courts. Thanks to 7’ 2” centre Frederic Weis, who controlled the defence. But what followed in the final group stage match between France and the USA was astonishing and had never occurred in the history of the sport.

Standing tall at 6’ 6”, Vince Carter, also known as ‘The Half Man, Half Amazing’ made his way past the leading French side and came up on Weis, who was the last man left to beat.

Since he possessed great air-time skill, Carter used it to his advantage to leap over the tall Frenchman and make the dunk.

8,477 people at The Dome erupted with happiness and shock as they witnessed what became known as the ‘Dunk of Death’.

Argentina celebrate after beating Team USA in the semi-finals of the men’s basketball at Athens 2004
Argentina celebrate after beating Team USA in the semi-finals of the men’s basketball at Athens 2004Argentina celebrate after beating Team USA in the semi-finals of the men’s basketball at Athens 2004

El Alma in Athens

The semi-finals of the 2004 men’s basketball event heralded the arrival of Argentina’s golden generation.

In Athens, the El Alma stepped up to the task of bringing home the continent's first gold in the discipline. But the task wasn’t easy as they had to overcome the unbeaten and star-studded 12-times world champions USA.

Manu Ginobili led the charge and provided a rude awakening for the stateside players in the semi-finals. The Argentine’s ball position and simple tactics led them to an 89-81 win over the Americans.

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