The U.S. men’s Olympic basketball team led by “woke” coach Gregg Popovich fell to France in the team’s opening game in Tokyo, losing at the Games for the first time since 2004.
The stunning loss has Popovich, who has been leading the woke movement in the NBA, on the ropes, according to sports media.
“Team USA men’s basketball was fried by the French in a stunning opening loss at the Tokyo Olympics,” the New York Post reported Sunday. “The Americans led Team France by seven with under four minutes remaining, but the French scored the next 14 points for a shocking 83-76 victory Sunday at Saitama Super Arena.”
The French team left the Americans stunned and handed them their first loss since 2004 when the United States lost its Olympic opener to Puerto Rico by 19 points. At the time, that was Team USA’s first loss since 1992, when the International Olympic Committee opened up participation to professional athletes. Team USA went on to win the bronze medal in 1992, and it seems the 2021 team may be aiming lower than previous squads.
Evan Fournier, a breakout star for Team France, excused the American team, rationalizing that a number of Team USA players were fresh off the NBA Finals.
“They had a good run, but we just stuck with our game plan,” Fournier said. “Second, you have to be honest and look at their roster, they have guys who are pretty tired from playing in the NBA Finals. We know they aren’t at full strength yet, but it was a good win regardless for us. It’s a hell of a win, and our country is going to be extremely proud.”
Coach Gregg Popovich, however, was less conciliatory, blaming expectations — not the team — for Sunday’s shocker.
“I think that’s a little bit of hubris if you think the Americans are supposed to just roll out the balls and win,” Popovich said. “We’ve got to work for it just like everybody else. And for those 40 minutes, they played better than we did.”
Sports commentators in the United States, though, laid the blame squarely on Popovich.
“If you want to call Gregg Popovich the greatest coach in NBA history, go right ahead,” USA Today’s sports reporter noted. “But let’s be as direct and to the point as Popovich usually is: He stinks at Olympic basketball.”
“If you want to know where to put the blame for Team USA’s 83-76 loss to France – America’s first Olympic men’s basketball loss in 6,176 days – look no further than the guy with five NBA titles who has been clueless from the very moment he was given the reins to USA Basketball,” USA Today continued in its brutal takedown. “Clueless in what he values with this roster. Clueless with an offense that unlocks very little of what his players do well. Clueless with the expectations he took on by following Mike Krzyzewski in this admittedly thankless job.”
The Sporting News added that Popovich was “running out of time” and that the Olympic coach “appeared, at times, like he hadn’t watched his own team.”
It may be that Popovich, who typically coaches the San Antonio Spurs, simply isn’t enthusiastic about international competition. He’s a strange choice to lead an Olympic Team USA, given that he’s regularly bashed the United States in commentary, calling the American flag “irrelevant” and “a symbol that people glom onto for political reasons.” He called former President Donald Trump a “soulless coward” and the U.S. “an embarrassment to the world.”
The United States will likely win their next matchup against Iran, which lost its own opener to the Czech Republic, 84-78.