The biggest disaster in the United States was in Indiana

In the 2002 World Cup, played in the United States, the American team held its worst position ever in that tournament.


"In 49 states it's only basketball, but this is Indiana" . The phrase, very widespread culturally in the United States and in principle anonymous, has to do with the special passion for the game in that state. The legendary Bobby Knight completed it: "I heard today that basketball was invented in Springfield, Massachusetts, and it's true. God invented it there so we could import it to Indiana."

Indiana is also the birthplace of Larry Bird, born in West Baden Springs and grown in French Lick. It is the land of basketball universities: Indiana itself or Purdue. And in the small town of Milan, also in Indiana, the script of Hoosiers was created, the film that tells the miracle of the basketball team that won the state championship in 1954.

Well, had to be in Indiana where the United States team signed the worst classification in its history in a World Cup. It was in 2002. The disaster became a national matter because at that time the NBA professionals were already playing. The young Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett passed the call of George Karl; Shaquille O'Neal had a damaged finger and Ray Allen and Jason Kidd could not finally be injured. The result was a team with a quintet that didn't sound so bad (Baron Davis, Andre Miller, Reggie Miller, Pierce and Wallace) and that had players on the bench like Finley, LaFrentz and Marion.

The United States had already lost a game of The second phase with Argentina. He was the first after 58 consecutive victories since the appearance of the professionals at the Barcelona Games. Despite the defeat, his qualification for quarters was assured. But the United States again lost there to Yugoslavia (78-81). The New York Times chronicle spoke of a Conseco Fieldhouse turned into a small Belgrade. All after a spectacular comeback plavi led by Milan Gurovic that drove the Balkan fans crazy that day in Indianapolis. "It was as if we were playing at home," Svetislav Pesic said that night, at his peak as a coach (the next year he would make the triplet with Barcelona). The defeat, accompanied in addition to a confrontation between George Karl (who curiously had Gregg Popovich as an assistant) and Paul Pierce, labeled as "selfish" by critics, had consequences. Mike D'Antoni left a sentence for reflection: "Basketball is not only ours now, it belongs to everyone" . Ginobili had left another clue after Argentina's victory: "We know their moves, what they will do after a cut, where they will come from; apparently, they will not."

The United States still lacked another "shame" (This is how Regie Miller described the defeat against Yugoslavia). Spain defeated him in the match for fifth place and signed his worst place in the history of a World Cup. Baron Davis announced that they would recover gold at the Athens Games, but that didn't happen either. A world order of basketball had been declared that, of course, only lasted six years. Until the Reedeem Team of 2008.



Photos from as.com

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