By Ben Horney, Knicks fan since '94
In the two decades that have passed since the Dream Team first established American global dominance in the game of basketball, the world has caught up. So when Team USA squared off against Spain in the gold medal game in London exactly one year ago today, the outcome was anything but certain.
Facing a roster full of NBA players -- from Pau and Marc Gasol to Serge Ibaka and Rudy Fernandez -- Team USA struggled to pull away, and went into the final period up by only a single point. But they were able to hold off Spain's final push in the waning minutes, holding on for the 107-100 victory.
With the win, the 2012 team -- which for the first time ever featured two Knicks, in Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler -- stamped their place in history.
It was Anthony's second gold medal as a member of Team USA basketball, and he once again showed why he is widely considered one of the top offensive players in the world. For the tournament, Anthony averaged 16.3 points and 4.8 rebounds per game. He shot a cumulative 54% from the field, including 50% from downtown. During the preliminary round, he put on a show for the ages against Nigeria, breaking the U.S. single-game scoring record in less than three quarters, as he totaled 37 points in just 14 minutes. In the gold medal victory over Spain, Anthony contributed eight points, five rebounds and three assists.
As for Chandler, while he had played in international tournaments before, London 2012 was his first Olympics. As Team USA's lone true big man, he earned the role of starting center, averaging four points and four rebounds in 11 minutes per game. He played just nine minutes in the gold medal game, finishing with two points and two rebounds.
It was Team USA's second consecutive gold medal, and both Knicks were proud to have contributed, especially considering how much the talent gap has closed between the United States and the rest of the world in the last two decades.
"As the U.S. men's team, we go through a lot," Anthony said after the game a year ago. "For us to persevere the way we did is just a special moment."