A US basketball team packed with NBA stars revived the country's Olympic title tradition after the Athens upset in 2004. Kobe Bryant's teammates beat stout-hearted Spain in the men's final 118-107.
The American players whooped with joy at the final buzzer before forming a huddle and dancing around the centre circle as chants of "
"The game was never over. I'm watching the game all over again in my head. It will go down in history as one of the greatest."
Jolted into action, Kobe Bryant swished two huge three-pointers, putting his finger to his lips after the second which put the
Dwyane Wade led the way with 27 points, sealing the game on another long bomb which he celebrated with a gunslinger's pose and a snarl of defiance to the crowd.
"I've always been able to step up and make big shots when the lights are brightest," said Wade, who made nine of 12 shots from the floor. "I just needed to be put in the position to do it."
Bryant, who turned 30 the day before the final, added 20 points. The Americans, relegated to bronze in
"What you saw today was a team," said Bryant, his gold medal around his neck. "Everyone talks about 'arrogant' NBA players but what you saw was us facing adversity and bonding together."
The only cheer louder than that for Bryant was when TV cameras spotted former
Crushed 119-82 by the Americans in the tournament's group stage,
Fernandez scored 22 points and Bryant's Los Angeles Lakers team mate Pau Gasol added 21.
"We should be proud of what we accomplished," said Gasol. "We played a tough game. We never backed down."
With an injured Manu Ginobili watching from the bench in jeans and a T-shirt, Carlos Delfino stepped up to lead
Date created : 2008-08-24