Today, we share highlights from the latest episode of “The Dream Team Tapes: Kobe, LeBron, & The Redeem Team” from Diversion Podcasts which features hosts Jack McCallum & J.A. Adande as they reflect on the iconic 2003 NBA draft class and how LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh, were thrusted into the spotlight at the 2004 Olympics, at a time where the program was in flux and the international basketball landscape had began to catch up on the US.
The episode features audio from Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony, Deron Williams, Craig Miller (USA Basketball’s Chief Communications Officer), and Sean Ford (USA Basketball’s National Team Director), as they reflect on the struggles that they faced in 2004 and how it would set the stage for the birth of the 2008 Redeem Team.
Highlight and timestamps include:
- Dwayne Wade and Carmelo Anthony Open up about being added to the 2004 Olympic team at the last minute (39:33-40:22):
“We really had no clue what we were getting into. We were just happy to be named to the Olympic team and be playing.” …We got the call last minute and just saw ourselves as the roster fillers.” –Dwayne Wade
“I think things could have been different but we didn’t have 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.” –Carmelo Anthony
- Sean Ford explains how USA Basketball was in a state of flux ahead of the 2004 games which saw a lot of players sit out, opening the door for younger players to join the roster (38:46-39:37): “Injuries and the situation of the world a lot of guys were unable to play. Jason [Kidd] was hurt, Ray [Allen] was hurt, Jermaine [O’Neal] was hurt. It just wasn’t working the way we wanted it to. So we went a little bit younger.”
- Sean Ford also spoke on Allen Iverson’s role as an inspirational leader for the 2004 team and how he helped keep the team focused after losing their shot at the Gold Medal. (48:00-48:45): “He took the hit with the media a lot when we did lose. Allen’s got a toughness about him, and because there was so much going around him with his life he was able to focus and leave somethings elsewhere. Because he does that on a regular basis he kept the team focused on what was next.”
Tune-in next Tuesday as Jack & J.A. dive into the massive shake-up that took place after the 2004 Olympics and how Jerry Colangelo and David Stern came to get involved in the restructuring of USA Basketball.