Team USA men’s basketball coach Gregg Popovich gave an emotional speech to the squad after winning the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics over France.
He also offered a message to the media and naysayers who were questioning the team going into the Olympics. The team had suffered losses to Nigeria and Australia right before the Games tipped off. The team also lost to France in pool play before getting its revenge in the gold-medal game.
“It’s an honor to be blessed with a group of Olympic champions. That’s what you are. I just got to tell you, I feel so fortunate having the opportunity to be with all of you guys, to be with the staff … we’ve gone through a lot. As I said in the beginning, before the Games started, all the challenges we had you guys met. And your courage and your tenacity, you just worked right through it,” he started.
“In the beginning, you know, people are talking about, ‘Why is he on the team? He should’ve taken him. What happened to him? Why is he there?’ All the pundits, all these people that they think they know something. And then we start out getting our a-s kicked after a couple practices and there it comes again. Here comes COVID. Three guys walk off a plane the day before a game. You guys went through all that stuff and your families were back there sacrificing the same way. And that’s why I’m so proud to be part of this. It’s like the best feeling I’ve ever had in basketball.
“And I would just like to say to all those people out there: How the f—k you like us now?”
After losing to France in the first game of pool play, the Americans won against Iran and Czech Republic and then defeated Spain and Australia to get to the gold-medal game.
The U.S. won gold in an 87-82 victory.