The Redeem Team’s modern history of America in the world

TThe hero of American life in 2008 was Barack Obama, the one we’ve been waiting for, who was in between, the basketball fan who taught America to say “yes” at the end of the decade bad, stupid “no.” However, it is so foreign to the world of 15 years ago that it is not surprising that Obama is not mentioned and does not appear on the screen. Redemption TeamNetflix’s exciting new documentary about the United States’ recovery of its rightful gold medal in men’s basketball in Beijing that year.

There’s a lot of political baggage a filmmaker can pile on Mike Krzyzewski’s coach’s win. The American team led by Larry Brown and led by Allen Iverson and Tim Duncan missed out on a bronze medal in Athens in 2004, a national embarrassment that occurred during the Bush administration’s debacle in Iraq. . War and basketball were two things in which Americans considered themselves an undisputed world leader, but Argentina’s national team and a group of jihadist lunatics had raised fundamental doubts about those myths. favorite of American supremacy. Communist China, host of the 2008 summer Games, has pointed the way forward in a world shaped by America’s rapid decline – yet Obama, and perhaps Team USA’s alpha dogs Kobe Bryant and LeBron James, are indicated that decline was inevitable. that America was still strong enough to improve on its weaknesses.

Director Jon Weinbach doesn’t deal with any of those things, at least not directly. The broader aspects of the story he tells come naturally from the film’s strong focus on basketball. The movie doesn’t come out and say it, but the 1992 Dream Team, the first US Olympic team to include NBA players, helped create a seemingly endless history of American hegemony, at the time through which our complete dominion over the whole world existed. bright restlessness. Maybe that thought was unhealthy, another talking head suggests. “We’ve come to think that just because we’re American, we’re better,” says reporter Sam Smith, as he introduces a group of NBA stars in red, white and blue jerseys. blue that anoints the world’s weakest nations throughout the 1990s. But the feeling was true— i the correct one. It’s great? If there wasn’t an inexplicable connection between Americans and the height of basketball, the 2008 team wouldn’t have redeemed anything. However, as Smith rightly says, “The Dream Team wasn’t about patriotism. They weren’t really doing it for America. They were doing it for the NBA” – for money, in fact. The film depoliticizes, but it becomes a story of how our national purpose can be clear, clear, and not trivialized in the time we are losing.

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By showing how Americans became conquerors again, Redemption Team becomes an unexpected intimate portrait of two of the leading basketball players of the 21st century. One of them, Mike Krzyzewski, called his last game earlier this year. Another, Kobe Bryant, died with his young daughter in a plane crash in January 2020, an event that a large group of millennial adults celebrated as “The Day Music Died ” —which is a surprising end to any last-minute trick. The film shows the length of an era that has just passed but also ended powerfully.

After the Athens disaster, USA Basketball was placed under the sole control of former Phoenix Suns owner Jerry Colangelo, who made the same risky decision to appoint a college coach to guide a group of NBA stars. At no time has Duke University captain Krzyzewski, a middle-aged West Point graduate who has won three national championships, seemed the least bit outdone by Dwyane, LeBron, Kobe, or any of the millions of other under his control. At team meetings, Coach K is quiet, if a little monotone — he’s “a coach from the Army,” as sportswriter Bill Plaschke describes him.

In the name of ultimate victory, Krzyzewski inspires a collection of exhibition boats with athletic shoes named after them to embrace the high selection and wear of the international game. He offers basketball ideas that can double as the ideas of America itself. Don’t push your NBA-size mindset, he said in one team meeting. “You have to give me the pride you have…and put it under one umbrella.” “That made sense!” Dwyane Wade exclaims, recalling that moment 15 years later. As if to emphasize the psychological connection between the dominance of American basketball and our deep feelings, Coach K tells the team to learn about “selfless service” from an army colonel recently returned from Iraq, as well and an active soldier who had both eyes put out. by enemy artillery. “When they heard these stories, our players opened their hearts, and as a result, they became US,” Krzyzewski recalls today.

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To Redemption Team, Krzyzewski’s greatness is something that the mind can grasp: He combines a savant-like understanding of the human mind with a suitably grand view of the work at hand. Unlike Coach K, Kobe’s size is in the upper range. In the film, he is remembered as a terrifyingly selfish, god who mocks people – “mortal people,” in this case, namely Pau Gasol, Dwyane Wade, and even LeBron James – from the prime of life, space. where it was his only. Kobe is not friendly, he is a “relaxed” person, according to Carmelo Anthony. One night, during training camp in Las Vegas, the entire team returned from a night of scrimmage at 5:30 a.m. to find Kobe in their hotel room, drenched in house sweat. early morning exercise. By the end of the week, the clubbing was over, and the entire team was on the Laker guard schedule.

It would be unfair to give every great Kobe story to this movie. We’re getting the full details of the infamous physical check he put on Lakers’ Gasol in the opening minutes of the Olympic round-robin game against Spain, a move that’s still shocking of a true pathological source. That “pathological triumph” is an American value is one of the unspoken ideas of this film. Ironically, this insatiable desire to succeed is part of why Americans are sometimes admired abroad. This article shows how in Beijing, the Chinese community treated Kobe as if he were Michael Jackson or Princess Diana, with what seemed like thousands of screaming and tired people following him in the Chinese capital.

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At the time, the crowds that mobbed the Team USA bus were seen as encouraging evidence that Chinese society was on the verge of the liberal influence of American culture. In retrospect, the dynamics were somewhat different – LeBron James, who is now the main representative of the famous American for Beijing’s mistakes, must have seen Kobemania as a foreshadowing of his business opportunities in the Communist dictatorship of basketball. (A curious omission from the film is that there is no mention of the US bombing the host country, China, in the first Olympic competition, which, at the time, was believed to have an audience (the most televised of any sporting event in history. LeBron James is one of the main producers of the film, incidentally.)

Redemption Team it is a satisfying sight of a great victory of the country, but even the success of the historical games turns out to be exciting at times – and at times less than one expected or expected. The film ends with Dwyane and Kobe hitting a series of long shots to stop the Spanish comeback in the gold medal game. Every basketball player knows that happened. Do they remember a time when it looked like the NBA would have more influence on China than China would have on the NBA? For that matter, do they remember that Carmelo Anthony was baby-faced as a high school freshman back in 2004, and even 2008? Redemption Team it’s a record-breaking world gold medal – and for many viewers, it will be grim proof that we’re not young anymore.

Armin Rosen is a New York-based reporter general for Tablet.


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