Jordan did it in 1992, when the Dream Team toyed with opponents who weren't ready to play basketball at the highest level yet. Things have changed now, yet the victory margins really haven't, the U.S. still clobbering teams who are much better than the caliber of competition guys like Jordan, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird faced.
The Americans returned to Barcelona last month and routed the Spaniards 100-78 in an exhibition game in which Spain rested Marc Gasol and backup point guard Sergio Rodriguez. Pau Gasol said the Spanish understand the U.S. is a powerful team and that the game will be difficult, but that it won't prevent his team from fighting.
"It's a huge opportunity," Gasol said. "Very few people get a chance to compete in a final, an Olympic final, in their carers, in their lives, and we are so fortunate that we have our second chance."
It's expected to be the last international game for Bryant and U.S. coach Mike Krzyzewski. And it could be the final appearance in red, white and blue for James and Anthony, rookies in 2004 when the U.S. hit its Olympic low point and now poised to go out on top.
"It's out the roof," Anthony said, describing his excitement level. "It's my second gold-medal game to be a part of, with this team. … And just to know the excitement level that everybody has for this game, it's going to be exciting."
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