Olympics 2016: is NBA’s Dream Team legacy over? 

The 2016 Men’s Olympics Basketball Team has officially
released its roster, one that the nation isn’t accustomed to seeing – certainly
not the legendary, hall of fame player line-up during the “Dream Team” era.  This year, more NBA superstars have decided to
skipped out on the Games than ever before, and may be a product of the all the
reports of health risks in travel to Brazil; with concerns of illnesses like
the “Zika virus”, the 2016 Olympics are literally scaring away athletes. 

While the roster set out for Rio features a few A-list
headliners: Kevin Durant, George Paul, and Carmelo Anthony – who has won 2 gold
medals and 1 bronze in his Olympic experience, Team USA is nowhere near it’s
identity as the “Dream Team”, with the numerous amount of superstars who has
passed on this years’ Olympics. Several NBA superstars have decided not to make
the daunting journey over to Rio: LeBron James, James Harden, Steph Curry,
Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook, and you can also count out Blake Griffin, Kawhi
Leonard, Anthony Davis, LaMarcus Aldridge, and Damian Lillard decided to
withdraw last minute. 

Who could blame them right? 

There is no shame to players skipping out on the Games if
they have to be susceptible to the health risks in Rio, as a nation we cannot
expect these superstars to just brush something as serious as the Zika Virus
off their shoulders. 

On a positive note, Team USA does feature over nine NBA
All-Stars: DeMarcus Cousins, Draymond Green, Kyle Lowry, Jimmy Butler, DeAndre
Jordan, DeMar DeRozan, Kyrie Irving, and Harrison Barnes. USA will also be led
by three of Golden State’s superstar-caliber players from Golden State. 

Often us USA basketball fans have been spoiled for having
such high expectations, especially with the abundance of talent the international
team has had for years; the 1992 Dream Team set forth our high pedestal of expectation
in USA basketball, routing teams with an average of 44 points. The Dream Team featured
some of the greatest players to ever embrace the game; with names like Jordan,
Bird, Johnson, Barkley, Mullin, Malone, Drexler, no wonder us fans view this
Olympic roster much differently than we are accustomed to seeing. 

Fans of USA basketball not only expect the team to leave the
competition with a Gold medal, but also to dominate everyone in a record-breaking
fashion. The dominance as expected, had continued with the names like: LeBron, Kobe,
Westbrook, Carmelo, Durant, Harden, Paul, Davis, Love, and other handful of NBA
superstars during the modern era of the Dream Team in 2008-2012. 

Being accustomed to such dominance over the years, it is no
wonder why fans are anything but pleased with the present 2016 Olympics Men’s
Basketball roster. It will be an interesting level of expectation for the team
this year; Team USA should still be favored to win this year’s international competition,
but the question is how convincingly will
they win. 

Perhaps it will be the 2016 Underdogs to be more of a
headline this summer for USA Basketball, because the identity of the Dream Team
appears to be an ending legacy. With more and more superstar athletes dropping
out of international competition, is it fair to question if the Olympic generation
is trending behind us?

Photo by kris krüg from Vancouver, Canada [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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