Carmelo Anthony Reveals His Regret After He, LeBron James, and the Dream Team Took Olympics 2004 Defeat

Published 03/06/2021, 11:30 PM EST
NEW YORK – JUNE 30: Jason Kidd, Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James attend the U.S. Olympic Men’s Basketball Team unveiling of their new team look to fans at the Water Club and Rockefeller Center on June 30, 2008 in New York City. (Photo by Johnny Nunez/WireImage)


The NBA is unquestionably the greatest basketball league that ever existed on planet Earth. However, it is predominantly an American league with only a quarter of its total number of inductees coming from outside the USA. So, it is convenient to suggest that the US is the breeding ground of the greatest Hoopsters, and players like LeBron James are living proof of the same.

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Now, watching Team USA lose in an Olympics Basketball game is like watching a European team losing a Football game against an Asian side. But that is exactly what happened in the Summer Olympics 2004 when the Dream Team lost its legacy because of various underlying reasons.

Carmelo Anthony reveals what went wrong that year

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In their worst performance since the Seoul Olympics 1988, Team USA had to settle for the Bronze medal in 2004 (Athens). But the reasons for the loss were rather different.

Team USA in 2004 was unlike any other team that ever represented the country. The team was a mix of rookies and everyone else in their 20s. Reportedly, many players had declined the invitation to join the roster as a result of the 9/11 attacks.

This led to the likes of Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, and Carmelo Anthony getting a seat in the team. They had veterans in Tim Duncan (28), Lamar Odom (25), Allen Iverson (29), and Richard Jefferson (24) to look up to.

As a result, the team took an unexpected 73-92 loss against Puerto Rico and pulled breaks on their 24-game win streak on the world’s biggest sporting platform. Fortunately, they somehow managed to pick a Bronze medal as the Gold went into Argentina’s bag. 

As Melo explained in an interview, “I think things could have been different, but we never had time. We came at the last minute. Me, D-Wade, and LeBron… The way that we looked at it was we’re only here for the roster fillers.”

Read AlsoCarmelo Anthony Sheds Light on Not Teaming Up with LeBron James and Dwyane Wade a Decade Ago

What went wrong with LeBron James’ first Olympics appearance?

Dwyane Wade, Lebron James, Kobe Bryant, and Jason Kidd walk off the court during a timeout against China in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. (Photo by Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

As they were just out of their rookie years in the league, they enjoyed very few minutes on the floor. The duo of LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony combined for just 139 minutes of play during the eight matches that they played in Athens.

LeBron James was surely the Rookie of the Year in 2004, but he averaged just 14.6 minutes per game and recorded 5.8 points with 2.6 rebounds. This was still better than Melo’s 2.4 ppg and 1.6rpg but nothing that could save them from the humiliation.

Team USA was coming off three consecutive Gold Medal wins before that and won just 5/8 games at Athens. 

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However, that year remained an exception. They made a comeback in 2008 as the “Redeem Team” that dominated opponents by forcing a 27.8-point deficit per game.

Today, Team USA is ready to win their fourth consecutive Gold in Tokyo Olympics. If that happens, they will stretch their overall Gold Medal Tally to 16 out of 20 such events.

Would Blazers’ Carmelo as a leading bench player and Lakers’ LeBron as a prolific starter join that team? Only time will tell.

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Read AlsoSteve Kerr Says Team USA Coaching Staff Is Preparing for Tokyo Olympics

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Sourabh Singh

1102 articles

Sourabh Singh is an NBA sports analyst for EssentiallySports, who has been working with the site since May 2020. Prior to this, he functioned as Managing Editor at WittyFeed, followed by a stint at Decathlon. The Sports Management graduate leads an active lifestyle, veering to the mountains for off-trail adventures.

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