The US men’s basketball team arrived in Tokyo looking to secure their fourth consecutive Olympic gold, having dominated the sport at the highest level for years.
However, the Americans were poor at their last major international tournament prior to the coronavirus pandemic, the FIBA World Cup of 2018, at which they finished seventh and ended their 78-game winning streak in defeat to Australia.
What’s more, their first game in Japan ended in a 83-76 loss to France - Team USA’s first Olympic defeat for 17 years since they had to settle for bronze at the Athens Games of 2004 - with Evan Fournier of the Boston Celtics settling matters for the French with a three-pointer less than a minute from full-time.
That loss meant that US has won two and lost three of its games this summer, hardly championship-winning form, and they will need to greatly improve in their upcoming fixtures against Iran and the Czech Republic if they are to progress.
Their squad is loaded with talent, however, with NBA star man Kevin Durant of the Brooklyn Nets still a force to be reckoned with after leading the side in 2012 and 2016.
Team USA is coached by long-time San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, with Lloyd Pierce of the Indiana Pacers, Jay Wright of Villanova University and Steve Kerr of the Golden State Warriors making up his assistants.
Anyone who watched The Last Dance on Netflix during lockdown will remember Kerr from his Chicago Bulls days as a player.
Here’s Team USA’s 12-man roster in full:
Bam Adebayo (Miami Heat)
Devin Booker (Phoenix Suns)
Kevin Durant (Brooklyn Nets)
Jerami Grant (Detroit Pistons)
Draymond Green (Golden State Warriors)
Jrue Holiday (Milwaukee Bucks)
Keldon Johnson (San Antonio Spurs)
Zach LaVine (Chicago Bulls)
Damian Lillard (Portland Trail Blazers)
JaVale McGee (Denver Nuggets)
Khris Middleton (Milwaukee Bucks)
Jayson Tatum (Boston Celtics)