Head coach Larry Brown: A successful collegiate and professional player and coach and a member of the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, Brown already ranks as the only American to have played and coached in Olympic men’s basketball. Coach Brown in 2004 is attempting to improve on that feat.
Brown won gold as a player on the 1964 U.S. Olympic basketball team that finished 9‑0. In 1980 he was named as an Olympic assistant coach to Dave Gavitt, however, the U.S. did not send its Olympic team to Moscow . He got another chance at becoming the first USA male to both play and coach in the Olympics when he was named an assistant to Rudy Tomjanovich for the 2000 U.S. team.
The U.S. with Brown assisting along the sidelines won gold. After qualifying the U.S. last summer for the 2004 Olympics, Brown will serve as head coach the 2004 team ‑ giving him Olympic experience as a USA head coach, assistant coach and as a player. If the U.S. is fortunate enough to win gold in 2004 under Brown, then he would become the first male or female to win Olympic gold medals as a player (1964), assistant coach (2000) and head coach.
Assistant Coach Gregg Popovich: Having led the San Antonio Spurs to NBA Championships in 2003 and 1999, “Pop” is a 1970 graduate of the Air Force Academy who earned an invitation to the 1972 U.S. Olympic Basketball Trials but was cut. In 2004 as a member of Larry Brown’s coaching staff he’ll get his Olympic experience.
Karl Malone: 40-year-old (he’ll actually be 41 when the Olympics take place as his birth date is 7/24/63) Karl Malone will become more then the oldest USA Olympic basketball player ever (Larry Bird, who was 35 years old at the time of the 1992 Olympics was previously the oldest Olympic men’s basketball player/ Teresa Edwards was 36 years old at the time of the 2000 Olympics and ranked as the oldest U.S. Olympic basketball player ever.), he is a two‑time Olympian who could make history if he participates in the 2004 Athens Olympic Games.
Malone was part of the original 1992 “Dream Team” and was back four years later earning a second gold medal in 1996 in Atlanta . A third Olympics would not just tie Malone with future Hall of Famer David Robinson for most Olympic appearances by a U.S. men’s basketball player, but if a third gold medal was to be realized, he would become the only male basketball player to have earned three Olympic golds.
Jermaine O’Neal: How much does representing the United States in the Olympics mean to this NBA All-star? Jermaine, like most, has voiced how honored he feels to be part of hoop teams representing his country, and he has backed his words up.
His participation on the 2004 U.S. squad will mark the fourth consecutive summer that he has played for the United States . He has been part of the gold medal winning 2001 Goodwill Games Team that finished 5‑0 in Brisbane , Australia , the 2002 World Championship team that placed sixth at 6-3, and he was a member of last summer’s Olympic qualifying squad that finished 10‑0 and won gold.
Tim Duncan: Duncan has played for five prior USA teams and has played in a team second most 38 international games. Named a member of the 2000 U.S. Olympic Team, he withdrew Aug. 19, 2000, because of a knee injury (torn cartilage in his left knee) suffered against Sacramento on April 11which also forced him to miss the Spurs final four regular season games and all four playoff games.
Born in St. Croix , Virgin Islands , he has two sisters, Cheryl and Tricia. Tricia was a member of the Virgin Islands swim team in the 1988 Olympics. Tim was also an outstanding swimmer who only began playing organized basketball in the ninth grade after Hurricane Hugo destroyed his local pool in 1989.
LeBron James: This talented 18 year old was named to the team on May 14, 2004. He will be the youngest U.S. male basketball player since Spencer Haywood in 1968. James was the NBA Rookie of the Year for 2003-2004 averaging 20.9 points a game. He started all 79 games for the Cleveland Cavaliers. James posted a double-double 12times during his rooking campaign.
USA in Olympic History : The USA men, gold medalists in 12 of the 14 Olympics in which it has played, has a remarkable 109‑2 win‑loss record in Olympic play for a .982 winning percentage. USA Olympic teams featuring NBA players are 24‑0 and the U.S. has won the last three Olympic titles when NBA players have participated (1992, 1996, and 2000). Men's basketball was first introduced internationally at the 1936 Olympics and the United States won 63 consecutive Olympic games before seeing the streak come to a halt with the 51‑50 controversial loss to the Soviet Union in the 1972 gold medal contest. Regrouping to win 21 straight between the 1976 Olympics and the semifinals of the 1988 Olympic Games, the USA ’s second loss came to the Soviet Union 82‑76 in a semifinal clash.
Information provided by USOC Press Box