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'No One-Hit Wonder': Team USA Beats Spain For Gold In Men's Basketball

LeBron James of the United States celebrates winning the Men's Basketball gold medal game between the United States and Spain with teammate Kobe Bryant.
Pascal Le Segretain
Getty Images
LeBron James of the United States celebrates winning the Men's Basketball gold medal game between the United States and Spain with teammate Kobe Bryant.

The United States now has back-to-back golds in men's basketball, after beating Spain 107-100 in the finals.

The team celebrated midcourt, and we saw something unexpected: Kobe Bryant, the superstar, one of the best basketball players in the world, wept during what he said was his last Olympic appearance.

"Team USA is not a one-hit wonder," the commentators on NBC said. "Like the Beatles and Rolling Stones, they come to London and put out more gold."

It wasn't easy. The AP reports:

"Kobe Bryant added 17 for the U.S., which only led by one point after three quarters and was ahead just 97-91 when James drove the lane for a thunderous dunk and followed a miss by Spain with a 3-pointer.

"In the final minute, U.S. coach Mike Krzyzewski, in his final international game, took out his top stars who came to London determined to keep American basketball on top. When the final horn sounded, Krzyzewski locked James in a tight embrace as Bruce Springsteen's "Born In The USA" rocked the arena."

Chris Tomasson of Fox Sports tweets two big pieces of trivia: LeBron James has had a major year, joining Michael Jordan as the only other player to win gold and an NBA title within the year.

Tomasson also points out that this "was [the] closest game USA ever has played in its 14 Olympics men's basketball wins. Previous closest was 85-75 vs France 2000."

Update at 1:07 p.m. ET. Durant Scores 30:

USA Today provides a few stats:

"Kevin Durant scored 30 points, and his three-pointer with 6:25 left in the game gave the U.S. a 93-86, its biggest lead of the second half until that point. The Americans led by just a point heading into the third quarter, but used offense and defense to pull away late in the fourth quarter.

"LeBron James added 19 points, seven rebounds, four assists and two steals while Kobe Bryant had 17 points, and Kevin Love nine points and nine rebounds."

Update at 12:31 p.m. ET. 14th:

This is the United States' 14th gold medal. After winning gold in Beijing, this team became known as the "Redeem Team," because the U.S. was beaten by Argentina in the 2004 Athens games.

The U.S. was able in the London Games, which coincidentally marked the 20th anniversary of the Dream Team, to restate their dominance in basketball. In 28 Olympics, the U.S. has now struck gold 14 times. It has medalled in all but the Moscow Olympics, which it boycotted.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.
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