The United States Basketball team was considered the favorite to win the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens. Team US had won gold medals in the last three consecutive Olympics. Hence, the 2004 roster led by Hall of Fame coach Larry Brown was expected to do the same. However, the team studded by Allen Iverson, Tim Duncan, LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Dwayne Wade, and Richard Jefferson could only win a bronze. The team lost three matches in 2004, which was the most games lost by a US men’s Olympic basketball game.
Initially, the team lost the opening game to Puerto Rico by 19 points. The stat still stands as the highest margin loss for Team US in the Olympics. The loss ended USA’s 24-game Olympic winning streak since 1992, when NBA players were allowed to feature in the Olympics team for the first time. Moreover, the team lost two more games against Lithuania and Argentina. The US team had the worst run, which started with losing a friendly preparation game against Italy by 95-78 before the Olympics. It was the second instance when the US team won a bronze medal after the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul. And now, NBA champion Richard Jefferson feels that the bronze medal was due to the mistakes made by LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony.
Richard Jefferson Blames James & Anthony For A Disappointing Run In 2004 Summer Olympics
Jefferson was a guest in the NBA Top Shot Twitter Spaces when he was asked if a gold medal in Athens would have made him consider himself an above-average player. However, the 2016 NBA champ put all the blame for not getting the gold on LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony. Richard stated that it was everyone’s fault except himself. The 41-year-old further said that Tim Duncan, Allen Iverson, and others had three MVPs between them. Jefferson also told that he still does not talk to Tim Duncan because of his performance during the 2004 Olympics. Richard added, “100 percent it was all of those guys’ fault.”
Meanwhile, Richard Jefferson went on to play with Duncan for the San Antonio Spurs during the 2009-10 season. He played alongside King James during a championship win for the Cavaliers in the 2016-17 season after trailing 3-1 to the in-form Golden State Warriors in the finals.