LeBron James by Andrew Bernstein/NBA Photos
Following the disappointing (some might say embarrassing) bronze-medal performance at the Athens Olympics, the U.S. men's basketball team knew it had to make some changes. The biggest was hiring Duke coach
to reinvent the program.
A new docu-series beginning Wednesday night,
Road To Redemption
, chronicles the squad's journey back to Dream Team status (July 2, 7 pm/ET, ESPN). Expect plenty of product placement for a certain shoe company, but there's also great behind the scenes footage, including Coach K's initial 2006 address to the team. "We're the guys who are gonna show people how to play, on any surface, in any court, in any location, it is our game," he said to a group that included NBA stars
, the sole holdover from the last gold-medal-winning team (2000).
The initial outing, the 2006 world championships, produced another bronze medal. But by the time the team swept through the FIBA Americas Championship last summer, an Olympic gold medal seemed likely. The U.S. has won gold 12 times (in 15 tries), falling short only in Munich (1972), Seoul (1988) and Athens (2004).
Future episodes of
Road to Redemption
air July 21 and 31 and Aug. 5. The team opens up play at the Beijing Games on Aug. 10 against China.