The USA may have been tipped as the favourites for gold in the men’s Basketball, but injuries have given opposing teams hopes of an upset ahead of the start of the competition
The USA team arrive in London as the defending champions and with a 54-1 win-loss record that dates back to 2006.
The squad, led by global superstars Kobe Bryant and LeBron James, features five players who won gold in Beijing, and five others who won the 2010 FIBA World Championship.
However, there are plenty of big names missing too, with Dwyane Wade, Dwight Howard and Blake Griffin among those forced to sit this summer’s campaign out.
The injuries have left the United States with a lack of size, something other teams will look to exploit.
‘Nobody is going to be intimidated by us, especially since everybody has been saying we are so small and that we don’t have any big guys so they think it’s going to be easier to beat us than it was before,’ said Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant.
‘We know it is going to be tough but we are looking forward to every game. I love this group of guys, everybody plays together, we play hard.’
The USA won in Beijing, but had to be satisfied with bronze at Athens 2004.
First in the queue of teams trying to knock the USA off their perch are European champions and 2008 runners-up Spain, led by Los Angeles Lakers forward Pau Gasol.
Argentina took gold in 2004, and still have five veterans of that team on their roster this year, led by their outstanding guard Manu Ginobili.