Because of this, the team was assembled the following off-season. Their only goal? Bring the gold back to the United States. Mike Krzyzewski was hired as head coach, and a list of the greatest players in the NBA was compiled.
This list failed at the 2006 World Games, winning another bronze medal. In 2007, they recruited Kobe Bryant to the team, as the last missing piece on the roster. However, there were a lot of reservations about the addition of Black Mamba, the biggest being his lone star.
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LeBron James went to Coach K to curb Kobe Bryant’s selfishness
While Dwyane Wade struggled with his injuries, Kobe Bryant was taking over the two guard roles on the team. From being one of “The Guys”, Wade’s role is reduced to the sixth man on the bench.
While Kobe was clearly the biggest star in basketball at that point, his habit of being selfish with the ball was a source of concern for the team. There were skepticism within the team as well as from the media.
In the book “Coach K: The Rise and Reign of Mike Krzyzewski” there were also accounts of Team Redeem. One described the team’s victory over Australia in an exhibition match. During the contest, Kobe put a lot of low percentage shots. LeBron James wasn’t too happy about that, and let Coach K hear the same. He allowed a coach caution while passing him off the bench.
“Yo, coach, you better fix that mother.”
Coach K took care of the same, sat Kobe up, and played the game shots. He noted that “Bulls* shoot” and told Bryant to be more flexible with offense.
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LeBron called Kobe helped the US team win the gold medal
After the initial call, the team had no problems going into the tournament. Instead of looking for his shots first, Kobe began looking for the best plays possible. He started in all eight games, averaging 23.5 minutes, 15.0 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.1 assists.
If LBJ hadn’t kept Mamba in check, Redeem might not have had the same success that they did.
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