The United States men’s basketball team lost its first Olympic game since 2004 on Sunday morning. Despite taking an eight-point lead into the locker room at the half, the U.S. was ice cold out of the break, opening a door for the French to pick up an 83-76 win that will invariably bring up questions about whether the Americans will be able to pull off a four-peat.
There were already some doubts about what this team could accomplish based on their struggles in the lead-up to the tournament, but the thought was that by the time the lights got bright, the United States — which did not have three of its players due to them participating in the NBA Finals during those pre-Olympic exhibitions — would elevate its game to another level. Instead, a 28-point outing by Evan Fournier, along with big games from Rudy Gobert and Nando de Colo, took down Team USA.
In the aftermath, the team found itself in an unusual position: At the butt of a whole bunch of jokes.
This is who Team USA Basketball lost to. pic.twitter.com/aNrCMCDeiP
— Ole Gunnar Scamskjær (@Nigerianscamsss) July 25, 2021
i pledge allegiance to the REAL USA basketball team pic.twitter.com/vaUMNIs6hr
— Rodger Sherman (@rodger) July 25, 2021
— Lights, Camera, Pod (@LightsCameraPod) July 25, 2021
All I’m saying is at least consider letting me run point for Team USA basketball
— max homa (@maxhoma23) July 25, 2021
That seals the deal. I am no longer a USA fan. I’ve been a fan since 1776 and a season ticket holder since 1789. I officially will not be renewing my plan next season nor will I watch on tv ever again. I’m going to France where they know how to run a basketball team.
— 𝙹𝚊𝚌𝚔 (@jack_isachsen) July 25, 2021
Team USA basketball we wanted vs Team USA basketball we actually got pic.twitter.com/q5AnHyZOM9
— 𝙈𝙖𝙩𝙩¹³🎡 (@thehurryupnba) July 25, 2021
Plenty of folks had the same idea: It’s officially time for USA Basketball coach Gregg Popovich to call up the most accomplished player in program history.
Olympic Melo sorely missed right now.
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) July 25, 2021
Melo miss one olympics now this where we at. WOW https://t.co/lP1NS1a5Zq
— Wurm 🇸🇱 (@StillSwanky) July 25, 2021
Olympic Melo flying to Tokyo to make sure Team USA brings home the gold medal in men’s basketball pic.twitter.com/WY13W1NezL
— Rich (@UptownDC_Rich) July 25, 2021
Olympic Melo pulling up to Tokyo after watching Team USA pic.twitter.com/ejIeEEISQi
— Stephen A. Smith Burner (@TheSASBurner) July 25, 2021
On the flip side, some people pointed out that while France has gobs of NBA talent right now, the most exciting young player in the world will play for the team some day.
Team USA losing to France is okay because they’ll get used to it by the time Wembanyama is old enough to play.
— Robel (@robeltussin) July 25, 2021
France beating the USA and Wembanyama not even playing yet lmao
— Trill Withers (@TylerIAm) July 25, 2021
Team USA losing is going to be a recurring thing over the next several years. Luka, Embiid, Giannis, Siakam, Jokic, etc are all foreign
Also, the best 17 year old in the world is from France in Victor Wembanyama
Very soon team USA won’t have the best player on the floor anymore
— Tobias Bass (@tobias_bass) July 25, 2021
The Americans should be able to get back on track against an Iran team ranked 23rd in the world during their second game in group play, but if not, it’s safe to say basketball fans will be even more ruthless.