It is officially time to panic if you are a fan of Team USA men’s basketball. Even coaching legend Gregg Popovich is out of answers.
Team USA suffered a second-straight loss Monday night, falling 91-83 to Australia. A team full of some of the NBA biggest and brightest stars is now 0-2 in Olympic exhibition games and has quickly become a laughingstock in international basketball.
Following Team USA’s loss Monday night, one reporter went after Popovich for the latest defeat. He noted how the United States men’s basketball team has had no problem dominating international teams in past tournaments.
“In this being your first Team USA experience in the Olympics, that sort of thing, what’s it like for you having watched your colleagues go through some of these tournaments and blow these teams out? And now you’re experiencing a much different, a much closer, tougher experience,” a reporter said to Popovich Monday night, via SportsCenter.
Popovich rebutted the claim Team USA has blown teams out in past tournaments, saying it’s “never happened.” The reported proceeded to fire back, using evidence in the process. Popovich, in the meantime, kept asking the reporter to be quiet and let him finish.
It was a heated exchange, to say the least. Take a look.
Gregg Popovich gets into exchange with reporter after Team USA's loss to Australia. pic.twitter.com/5XEp114qIh
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) July 13, 2021
It’s easy to understand why Gregg Popovich is frustrated. Team USA has underperformed in Olympic exhibition games so far. Regardless, he’s wrong. Team USA has dominated plenty of teams in past Olympics.
USA men’s basketball has won three-straight Olympic gold, and most of the tournaments haven’t been all too close. Team USA has dominated the competition for over a decade.
The United States team beat Nigeria – the same team that just beat USA 90-87 a few nights ago – 156-73 back in 2012. That team featured NBA legends like the late Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony, LeBron James and Kevin Durant.
There’s no doubt international basketball has improved since then. Still, Team USA should have no problem beating teams like Nigeria and Australia. Popovich has to find answers for what’s been a puzzling start to run to the Tokyo Olympics.