Iverson and Duncan named USA co-captains
USA Basketball Men's Senior National Team veterans Tim Duncan (San Antonio Spurs) and Allen Iverson (Philadelphia 76ers) were selected unanimously by their U.S. teammates co-captains of the 2004 USA Basketball Men's Senior National Team.
"We've got such a young team that their (Duncan and Iverson) leadership is vital. Those two guys are great leaders," said USA head coach Larry Brown. "They were with us in Puerto Rico (at the 2003 FIBA Americas Olympic Qualifying Tournament). The team played as a team and they had a lot to do with it. I think with so many young kids that need some direction, it's good to have veterans like them to set the tone."
"It's an honor to be on the Olympic team, period. And, then, to be put in a captain spot on this team is a big responsibility but it one that is shouldered by a lot of different guys. I feel comfortable, being one of the elders, so I will try to do my best," said Duncan. "With Allen and myself, we bring two distinctive ways of doing things, but we bring two ways that are good for the team. That's to go out, play hard and get the job done."
"It's an honor." said Iverson. "It's an honor just to be on this team. I guess it says a lot about who I am as a player and my potential of being a good leader. I was happy with it and it's a great feeling for me. "I'm glad I have the opportunity to be doing what I'm doing and to be a captain makes even more special.
"I felt that with me being the oldest player and being in the league as long as I have been, that I would be a candidate for it. And, I feel the same about Tim (Duncan). He's won two NBA championships and accomplished all the other things that he's done. On and off the court, I think we both deserve it."
Duncan, the NBA's 2002 and 2003 Most Valuable Player; has played in a 2004 USA team high 40 international games representing USA Basketball and last summer led the U.S. to a 10-0 record and an Olympic Qualifying berth in Puerto Rico averaging team highs of 15.6 ppg. and 8.0 rpg. Iverson, a perennial All-Star and the NBA's 2001 MVP and the oldest member of the ‘04 squad at 29-years-old, was also a member of the 2003 Olympic Qualifying Team and averaged 14.3 ppg. and 3.8 apg.
The 2004 USA Team also includes LeBron James, 2004 Rookie of the Year; Richard Jefferson, a member of the 2003 USA Olympic Qualifying Team; Stephon Marbury, 2001 and 2003 NBA All-Star; Shawn Marion, 2003 NBA All-Star and two-time USA team member; Amaré Stoudemire, 2003 NBA Rookie of the Year; Carmelo Anthony, 2004 NBA Rookie of the Year runner-up; Carlos Boozer, 2004 NBA Most Improved Player Award runner-up; Lamar Odom; Emeka Okafor, Most Outstanding Player of the 2004 NCAA Final Four; and Dwyane Wade, a unanimous 2004 All-Rookie First Team selection.
Brown, who has won a gold medal as a player at the 1964 Olympics and as an assistant coach at the 2000 Olympics, and who most recently led the Detroit Pistons to the 2004 NBA title, is head coach of the 2004 USA Basketball Men's Senior National Team and will draw on his recent international head coaching experiences that saw him lead USA teams in 1999 and 2003 to 10-0 records and Olympic qualifying berths. Assisting Brown on the USA bench is San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich, who owns a pair of NBA championships (1999 and 2003), and a pair of very successful collegiate head mentors in Clemson University's (S.C.) Oliver Purnell and University of North Carolina's Roy Williams.
The USA senior men opened training Monday at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville, Fla., and will spend 20 days leading up to the start of the 2004 Athens Olympic basketball competition training in Jacksonville; Cologne, Germany; Belgrade, Serbia & Montenegro; and Istanbul, Turkey, and will play a total of six exhibition games.
The 2004 USA Basketball Men's Senior National Team will be nominated to the United States Olympic Committee to participate in the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece, which are being held Aug. 13-29.
The USA Senior National Team is conducting its only domestic training July 26-30 at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville, and will play its lone domestic exhibition game at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena against 2004 Olympic qualifier Puerto Rico on July 31.
Moving its training to Europe, the USA will play two games in Cologne at the Kölnarena. The three-team, round- robin tournament will also feature national teams from Germany and ‘04 Olympic qualifier Italy. The tournament gets underway Sunday, Aug. 1 with Germany and Italy meeting. The USA will meet Italy on Aug. 3 and the tournament concludes on Aug. 4 with the USA playing against host Germany and NBA All-Star Dirk Nowitzki.
Traveling to Belgrade, the Americans will face 2002 World Champion Serbia & Montenegro on Aug. 6 at the Belgrade Arena which is scheduled to be completed in late July. In there last meeting, Serbia & Montenegro, which boasted of no less than nine players who were part of NBA teams in 2003-04, handed the 2002 USA World Championship Team an 81-78 loss in quarterfinals action of the 2002 FIBA World Championship on Sept. 5.
Making its final preparations Aug. 7-12 in Istanbul, the USA men are slated to play against Turkey on Aug. 8 and again on Aug. 10 at Abdi Ipekci Arena. Turkey is expected to be led by NBA standouts Mehmet Okur and Hidayet "Hedo" Turkoglu. All six of the 2004 USA Basketball
Men's Senior National Team's exhibition games will be televised, one on ABC (Aug. 8 versus Turkey) and five on ESPN.
The 2004 Olympic men's basketball competition takes place Aug. 15-28 in Athens. The United States men, the three-time defending Olympic champions, will compete in Group B with Angola, Australia, Greece, Lithuania and Puerto Rico. The other men's preliminary round group, Group A, consists of Argentina, China, Italy, New Zealand, Serbia & Montenegro and Spain.
The USA men open preliminary play in the 2004 Olympics on Sunday, Aug. 15 against Puerto Rico (8 p.m., all times are local time), then will play host Greece on Tuesday, Aug. 17 (10:15 p.m.), Australia on Thursday, Aug. 19 (2:30 p.m.), Lithuania on Saturday, Aug. 21 (8 p.m.), and the U.S. concludes its preliminary play facing Angola on Monday, Aug. 23 (2:30 p.m.). Quarterfinals play is slated for Thursday, Aug. 26, with semifinals action being held on Friday, Aug. 27 and the final games to determine first through eight places are slated to be played on Saturday, Aug. 28.
The U.S. men, gold medalists in 12 of the 14 Olympics in which it has participated, own a remarkable 109-2 win-loss record in Olympic play for a .982 winning percentage. USA Olympic teams featuring NBA players are 24-0 since making their first appearance at the 1992 Olympics and the U.S. has won the last three Olympic titles when NBA players have participated (1992, 1996, 2000).
A record almost as impressive as the USA's success in the Olympics is the one enjoyed by USA Basketball Men's Senior National teams comprised of NBA players. Since first fielding in 1992 a team of legendary NBA stars, USA Basketball Men's Senior National Teams have competed in eight international basketball competitions and compiled a stellar 69-3 record, and have posted a record of 18-0 in exhibition games. Between 1992 and six games into the 2002 World Championship the USA seniors won a remarkable 58 straight games. The win streak came to a halt at the 2002 World Championship when the U.S. fell 87-80 to Argentina (Sept. 4, 2002). The U.S. seniors currently own a 10-game win streak after finishing 10-0 to win gold at the 2003 FIBA Americas Olympic Qualifying Tournament.