Journey to Tokyo: Gregg Popovich, USA Basketball

Tokyo 2020

LAS VEGAS (NEXSTAR) – The 1992 U.S. Olympic men’s basketball team is considered the greatest basketball team ever assembled. It had a nickname: the “Dream Team.”

1992 was the first year when active NBA players were allowed to compete in the Olympics.

“Every year that goes by, teams are better and better and all these teams will have one or two more NBA players,” said Gregg Popovich, the head coach of Team USA. “So the talent level goes up every year.”

Yet, the United States continues to dominate.

Mike Krzyzewski was Team USA’s head coach for the last three Olympics. His teams were 24-0 and they all won gold medals.

Now, Popovich is the head coach. The longest-tenured active coach in the NBA, he has coached the San Antonio Spurs for 25 seasons.

“I’ve always been excited about the Olympics,” said Popovich. “And way, way, way back in 1972, I was able to try out for the Olympic team and I didn’t make it.”

But he did make the coaching staff of the Olympic team in 2004.

Gregg Popovich was an assistant coach on the team that won a bronze medal, the last time the U.S. did not win gold.

“I think (the players are) making a really big and important sacrifice,” he said. “Basically COVID for like a year and a half, being in the bubble…I think it’s a testament to their character, their desire to show the world that they can be the best basketball team.”

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