The US basketball team is off to a dismal start, after having been beaten by France 83 to 76 on Sunday. So far, this is the worst showing for the US in Olympic basketball in almost 20 years.
Team USA is a perennial favorite to win in Olympic basketball. Their record has previously been nothing less than stellar, at one point winning 25 consecutive Olympic gold medals. This gargantuan winning streak was only broken at the Athens Olympic Games in 2004, when they wound up taking the bronze medal.
In total, Team USA has only lost six of the past 144 Olympic matches. In fact, their record from the time NBA players were allowed to play has been 53-4. Aside from Sunday's shocking loss, the other three losses were from the above-mentioned 2004 Athens Olympics.
However, basketball in the US in general has ran into its share of problems in the past couple of years. It is thought by many that the "woke" politics of the industry and its players are hurting the game itself.
What's certain, in any case, is that basketball's ratings are way down in the US, as viewers turn out in droves.
Team USA was leading 10 points in the third quarter, but that lead quickly evaporated as Team France rallied effectively, with star player Evan Fournier eventually scoring 28 of France's 83 total points.
According to the NBA's website, when interviewed afterwards, Fournier commented, "[The members of Team USA] are better individually, but they can be beaten as a team."
Perhaps even more shocking is that Team USA had previously lost two out of their five exhibition matches prior to the opening of the Olympics, meaning that things don't bode well for the team if they don't get their act together quickly.
Sunday's loss also means that, in order to even be in the running for a medal, they can't drop another game.
Gregg Popovich, the Team USA coach, also commented:
"I think that’s a little bit of hubris if you think the Americans are supposed to just roll out the balls and win. We’ve got to work for it just like everybody else. And for those 40 minutes, they played better than we did."
"When you lose a game, you’re not surprised. You’re disappointed."