5 biggest upheavals for the U.S. national basketball team in the 21st century
The United States Men’s National Basketball Team for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics suffered one of the biggest upheavals in history Sunday in Las Vegas in an exhibition game against Nigeria. The United States basketball team lost the draw 90-87, despite a five-star lineup that included players like Kevin Durant, Damian Lillard and Jayson Tatum.
It was a complete shock considering that the American basketball team is widely regarded as the best team in the world due to the number of NBA stars playing for the country. It was not the first deflationary defeat for the United States, as there have been several instances where it suffered shocking losses by low-level teams.
On that note, we rank the five biggest upheavals against Team USA in the 21st century.
# 5 United States vs. Nigeria 2021
The US basketball team opened its pre-Olympic campaign against Nigeria on Sunday night in Las Vegas. They fielded a solid starting five including Kevin Durant, Damian Lillard, Jayson Tatum, Bradley Beal and Bam Adebayo. Durant led the charge with a record 17 points for the United States, but only shot 4 of 13 from the floor.
Meanwhile, Lillard had 14 points, but he too struggled to shoot the ball well, making just 4 of his 10 field attempts. It was only the team’s first game since training camp started four days ago, but they were expected to win.
However, Nigeria, who have fielded six NBA players, had other ideas. They were lethal with their shot, making 20 threes on the night, twice as much as the Americans from long distance, which helped them secure the victory.
Team USA’s biggest resounding victory came against the Nigerians at the London 2012 Olympics, when they beat Nigeria 156-73. Although it was only an exhibition game, the Nigerians took revenge for the huge loss they suffered nine years ago with the victory.
The Nigerian team included Gabe Vincent, Precious Achiuwa and KZ Okpala of the Miami Heat, Chimezie Metu of the Sacramento Kings, Josh Okogie of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Miye Oni of the Utah Jazz.
# 4 USA vs France 2019, FIBA ââWorld Cup
The 2019 FIBA ââWorld Championship tournament was the worst for the USA team to date. They finished seventh (worst in their history) and saw their streak of 58 consecutive victories in international tournaments end against France in the quarter-finals. The US team lost 79-89 to a French team which included NBA stars Rudy Gobert, Nicolas Batum and Evan Fournier.
It was one of the weaker teams the United States has sent to a major tournament in a long time, as several NBA superstars declined the invitation to participate in the tournament in China. The list included Jayson Tatum, Donovan Mitchell, Khris Middleton and Jaylen Brown, who were fast becoming the stars they are today.