A new sports documentary on Netflix called the redemption team has impressed sports fans around the world.
the redemption team tells the story of the US basketball team’s efforts to win gold at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, following the 2004 Athens Olympics in which the country “only” won bronze.
The title refers to a nickname given to the team as they tried to reinvigorate their reputation after some embarrassing losses four years earlier.
the redemption team is a classic story of a team of talented athletes, who learn to bounce back from defeat by working together as a team and learning humility. And if you found the documentary interesting, here are some other things you might want to know about the story.
Why was it called The Redeem Team?
the redemption team it is named after the 2008 US Olympics men’s basketball team, which was given the same nickname at the time.
It was because, after winning bronze at the 2004 Olympics, the US expected their team to return to first place. After all, the US gave birth to the sport of dribbling, and had won 13 gold medals since its introduction at the Olympics in 1936 (for context, they had only No he won gold three times).
But the title is also a riff on the 1992 Olympics, as the men’s basketball team was called “The Dream Team” back then. The team included Larry Bird, Michael Jordon and Magic Johnson, and it was the first time NBA players had been allowed on the US Olympic team.
Who was on the redemption team?
The US basketball team in 2008 featured quite a few well-known players.
The captain was Kobe Bryant, one of the most famous basketball players of all time, who played guard alongside Jason Kidd, Deron Williams, Michael Redd, Dwayne Wade and Chris Paul.
Lebron James was also on the team, playing up front along with Carlos Boozer, Tayshaun Prince and Carmelo Anthony.
Completing the team were Dwight Howard playing center and Chris Bosh, who played both center and forward.
The coach was Mike Krzyzewski, who is sometimes referred to as “Coach K”: this was Krzyzewski’s first stint as coach of the Olympic basketball team, but he went on to win two more golds after 2008.
Interestingly, none of the players were playing for the same club at the time apart from Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer (both came from the Utah Jazz). So it really was an American union.
Was Kobe Bryant on The Redeem Team?
Yes, legendary basketball player Kobe Bryant, who tragically passed away in 2020, was on the 2008 team and is also detailed in the redemption team documentary film.
The film features a moving tribute to Bryant; in fact, her segment is central to the documentary’s themes.
We hear a lot about how he was an outsider when the basketball team was formed, but over time he got to work better with the team. In fact, Jerry Colangelo, general manager of the team, details how his energy was an example for the rest of his teammates.
Bryant was not interviewed by the redemption teamfor obvious reasons, but there is a lot of stock footage used from games and other interviews.
Also shown is the relationship between Bryant and James, two equally big stars at the time, as the two athletes learned to ignore media rivalries in order to work together.
Who won the 2004 Athens Basketball Olympics?
The “Redemption Team” is so named because while the USA has a great history of winning gold at the Olympics in basketball, it only took bronze in 2004. Gold went to Argentina while Italy won the silver.
It was a big disappointment for the American team, something the redemption team addresses in detail, focusing heavily on the 92-73 loss to Puerto Rico that kicked off the US games.
It wasn’t a total loss for the team: they won three of the five games in their first group, went all the way to the semi-finals where they were eliminated by Argentina, and then beat Lithuania in the bronze medal game.
Why is there so much war in The Redeem Team?
There’s a surprising military presence in a movie about basketball players, and some people may be confused as to why it’s all there.
A lot of that surrounds the 2004 Athens games, and we see footage of troops diving into the water around the Greek city. This is due to world events at the time: it was the first Olympics since 9/11 and the start of the war in Iraq.
There was fear of terrorist attacks at the games, which discouraged many American players from joining the teams, and the documentary suggests that it is one of the factors that affected the performance of the basketball team.
Later, when the 2008 team is training, we see a talk by an army officer, with a few other soldiers in attendance. This is because the coach, Mike Krzyzewski, served time in the military and found that many of the principles that helped him there were important to impart to the team, especially teamwork.