When Netflix announced that they were releasing a documentary on the Redeem Team, I was hyped. The 2008 Olympics in Beijing is the first Olympics I watched on television. I was too young to remember or even care about the 2004 Olympics in Athens. I also, remember not caring about any other event except for basketball. As a 13 year old kid, I wasn’t a fan of any other sport. It was basketball 24/7. With the Redeem Team being the first US Olympic Team I got to watch, that squad will always be the most memorable Olympic team for me.
The documentary was put together very well and had me locked in from the beginning. My mind didn’t drift. I’m positive that the majority of fans my age felt the same way watching this documentary. Here are some of my reactions/takeaways from this documentary.
Details are everything
Coach Mike Krzyzewski , Dwyane Wade, and Carlos Boozer brought up some really important details as to why the United States struggled at the 2006 FIBA World Championships. This details might seem small and unimportant, but they make a difference. Coach Krzyzewski mentioned how the FIBA basketball had more panels than the NBA ball. Dwyane Wade noticed how players are allowed to walk through the lane while a free throw is being taken. Wade also mentioned that in FIBA, players are allowed to touch the ball while it is still above the cylinder. This is not allowed in the NBA. Carlos Boozer broke down how certain plays are legal in FIBA, would be considered fouls in the NBA.
Sure the NBA and FIBA are playing the same sport, but they are playing different games. These small details make a difference. Coach Krzyzewski said that in order to be successful in international competition, the United States had to learn how to play international basketball.
I wished Gilbert Arenas didn’t get cut
There were a few scenes were Gilbert Arenas appeared as a member of Team USA. Which made me remember that back in 2006, he had a brief stint as a member of the team. Before he was one of the final players who got cut. As a Wizards fan, I wished Coach Krzyzewski kept Arenas on the team.
Dwyane Wade’s Olympic performance
There were a few minutes spent on Wade’s importance to the 2008 team. I just wished the documentary spent just a few more minutes on it. After two injury ridden seasons, Wade showed for Team USA at the top of his game. Carmelo Anthony mentioned how Wade showed up with a bald head and wearing number 9. That part was pretty epic because we all know who wore number 9 on the USA Olympic team back in 1992.
Wade led the team in scoring with an average of 16.0 points per game. He also delivered in the gold medal game against Spain. The documentary did a great job highlighting that.
Young LeBron was something else
LeBron James is still an athletic force of nature at 37 years old. He’s still throwing down tomahawk dunks with incredible ease. It’s easy to think that he hasn’t lost a step or bounce athletically. But after watching footage of 2008 LeBron, you notice that there’s a huge difference. Just in the way he moves around the court and how quickly he gets off the ground.
Made sense why my Wizards struggled against him so much in the playoffs from 2006-2008. Even at 23 years old, LeBron had that rare combination of athleticism and basketball IQ. And he was already in the conversation with Kobe Bryant as the best player in the NBA. All before entering his prime. That is insane!!
Kobe Bryant made everyone else better
From his super early morning workouts to how he approached each game. Kobe Bryant inspired his Olympic teammates. After the 2008 Olympics, numerous players on the team would go on to have career years. LeBron James won his first MVP. Dwight Howard advanced to the NBA Finals and won his first defensive player of the year award. Dwyane Wade led the league in scoring. Chris Paul and Chris Bosh continued to improve their games. From being around Kobe for an entire summer, these guys became better players.
I miss Kobe
The Kobe moments in the documentary were incredibly epic. I’m not going to spend time going through each one of them. You will have to watch the documentary yourself. Out of all the NBA players I’ve had the chance to watch, Kobe is the guy I admired the most. The Kobe moments in the documentary reminded me of why that is the case. Man I miss Kobe.
I’m taking the 2008 team over the 1992 team
I know the 1992 Dream Team had Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, and Larry Bird on the team. Alongside other hall of famers in their prime such as Charles Barkley, David Robinson, Clyde Drexler, and Karl Malone. But the 2008 Redeem Team had Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, and Dwyane Wade in their prime.
Also, the international competition in 2008 is tougher than it was in 1992. The advantage that the 1992 team has is their interior play. With Charles Barkley, Patrick Ewing, David Robinson, and Karl Malone. But I’m not betting against a team that has Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, and Dwyane Wade in their prime. I might sound bias. To be honest, I am. But oh well.
The Gold Medal Game
The gold medal game scene gave me goosebumps. That’s all I can say. You have to watch the scene yourself to really understand how great it was.