Netflix gifts basketball fans with “The Redeem Team” documentary


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Team USA and Coach K showed a competitive spirit in the 2008 games.

Jamison Joyce, Staff Writer

The United States has always been a dominant force in the basketball world. Since they began competing in Olympic basketball they’ve taken home over 20 gold medals. However, this was not always the case, in the 2000s Team USA’s hot streak began to lose steam. The team earned bronze at the 2004 Athens Olympics after a devastating 19-point loss to Puerto Rico. After the tough loss in Athens, the US assembled a new team led by Duke University’s Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski (Coach K) to compete in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, dubbed “The Redeem Team.” Netflix’s new documentary entitled “The Redeem Team” details this team’s journey and the hardships they had to overcome to return the gold medal to The United States.

One of the first things that the documentary dived into was the superstars that made up the team. The team’s “Big Four” consisted of LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, Carmelo Anthony and the late Kobe Bryant. These four were amongst some of the best players in the world at the time and had the skills to win at any level of the game. The documentary explained how the players were selected by Coach K with the intention of playing a specific role. This would prepare them for anything that would come their way on the international stage.

A major highlight of the documentary was the relationships between the players and their comradery that grew throughout their time in training camps and the Olympic village. The players told the audience a story about how Bryant convinced the entire team to workout with him at six in the morning every day. They also talked about the jokes James would make in the locker room and the positive energy he radiated. This wholesome segment of the documentary provided some of the best moments.

The next standout aspect would have to be the game footage that was shown. While watching the highlight plays of Bryant, James and Wade, the viewer can really understand how intense and electrifying the environment of the arena was at that time, especially during the gold medal game against Spain. Also seeing the games where the US lost in the previous Olympics portrayed the sense of defeat that the team felt very accurately. Being able to see the smiles of the players and coaches when they finally won the gold felt like the perfect form of closure to this climactic segment of the documentary.

One of the only flaws was the multiple random historical segments. For example, the documentary would be telling a part of the main story, then the focus would shift to a tangent about the 1972 Olympics. These details just made the scenes more confusing and seemed unneeded ultimately.

Overall, “The Redeem Team” was an extremely interesting, intense, and immersive documentary. I would strongly recommend “The Redeem Team” to any basketball or sports fan in general. It could easily serve as something to put on in the background or be something they sit down and really engage their focus with. It also effectively brings the viewer back to what many would consider a “Golden Age” of professional basketball. 

Contact Jamison Joyce at [email protected]