NBA and WNBA at the Olympics: Rosters, medal counts, more (2024)

  • Keith Jenkins

Jun 30, 2024, 09:05 PM ET

Team USA has won 25 Olympic gold medals in basketball, 21 more than the closest competitor, the Russian Federation.

The U.S. men's and women's national teams, comprising NBA and WNBA talent, enter the 2024 Paris Olympics having won a combined 11 straight Olympic gold medals. The country's modern dominance in the sport can be traced to two singular moments: the formation of the 1992 Dream Team, and the collection of women who took the 1996 Atlanta Games and the basketball world by storm.

Here's a historical look at the NBA and WNBA at the Olympics.

When were NBA players allowed to compete in Olympic basketball?

The 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona marked the first Games where FIBA allowed NBA players to participate in Olympic tournaments.

Before 1992, only amateur basketball players were permitted on U.S. Olympic teams, while other countries were allowed to form national teams with the best players from their respective domestic professional leagues.

What changed the rule?

Team USA lost to the Russian Federation at the 1988 Seoul Summer Olympics and settled for bronze. It was the worst finish by the Americans since basketball became an Olympic sport in 1936.

The next year, FIBA voted 56-13 to allow professional basketball players to compete in its international events, including the Olympics.

When was the Dream Team formed?

The rule change paved the way for Team USA to add NBA players to its roster, and on Sept. 21, 1991, the U.S. basketball committee selected reigning NBA MVP and NBA champion Michael Jordan, his Chicago Bulls running mate Scottie Pippen, Charles Barkley (Philadelphia 76ers), Larry Bird (Boston Celtics), Clyde Drexler (Portland Trail Blazers), Patrick Ewing (New York Knicks), Magic Johnson (Los Angeles Lakers), Karl Malone (Utah Jazz), Chris Mullin (Golden State Warriors), David Robinson (San Antonio Spurs) and John Stockton (Jazz).

The committee rounded out the team with Duke University's Christian Laettner as a tribute to the former amateur system.

Sports Illustrated first dubbed the collection of talent the "Dream Team."

How successful was the Dream Team?

Commonly referred to as the best basketball team ever assembled, the 1992 U.S. men's basketball team defeated its opponents at the Barcelona Summer Olympics by an average of more than 40 points. The Dream Team eventually beat Croatia in the final and won gold.

How successful have NBA players been at the Olympics since the Dream Team?

Since NBA players have been allowed to play in the Olympics, the U.S. men have won gold in seven of eight Summer Games. Team USA won bronze in 2004 after losing to Puerto Rico, which was led by NBA player Carlos Arroyo, Lithuania and Argentina.

Argentina, led by future Hall of Famer Manu Ginóbili and future NBA players Luis Scola, Fabricio Oberto, Walter Herrmann, Andrés Nocioni and Carlos Delfino, won gold in 2004, followed by silver medalist Italy.

When did WNBA players first compete in Olympic basketball?

The WNBA's first season was in 1997, so WNBA players didn't compete in the Olympics until the 2000 Sydney Games. However, the league was formed on the heels of the successful gold-medal run of the U.S. women's national basketball team at the 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympics.

Who was on the 1996 U.S. women's Olympic team?

The 1996 U.S. women's national basketball team featured Jennifer Azzi, Ruthie Bolton, Teresa Edwards, Lisa Leslie, Rebecca Lobo, Katrina McClain, Nikki McCray, Carla McGhee, Dawn Staley, Katy Steding and Sheryl Swoopes and was coached by Tara VanDerveer.

Azzi, Bolton, Edwards, Leslie, Lobo, McCray, McGhee, Staley, Steding and Swoopes all went on to play in the WNBA.

How successful was the 1996 U.S. women's team?

The women went 60-0, including 52-0 in pre-Olympic competition and 8-0 at the 1996 Games. They revitalized a U.S. women's program that had finished with the bronze medal at the 1992 Barcelona Games.

How successful have WNBA players been at the Olympics?

Powered by WNBA players, the U.S. women's basketball team has won seven straight Olympic gold medals, starting with the gold in 1996. Three-time WNBA champion and former WNBA MVP Diana Taurasi looks to capture a record sixth gold medal this summer.

What are the rosters for Team USA basketball at the Paris Olympics?

Men: Bam Adebayo (Miami Heat), Devin Booker (Phoenix Suns), Stephen Curry (Warriors), Anthony Davis (Lakers), Kevin Durant (Suns), Anthony Edwards (Minnesota Timberwolves), Joel Embiid (76ers), Tyrese Haliburton (Indiana Pacers), Jrue Holiday (Celtics), LeBron James (Lakers), Kawhi Leonard (Los Angeles Clippers) and Jayson Tatum (Celtics)

Women: Napheesa Collier (Minnesota Lynx), Kahleah Copper (Phoenix Mercury), Chelsea Gray (Las Vegas Aces), Brittney Griner (Mercury), Sabrina Ionescu (New York Liberty), Jewell Loyd (Seattle Storm), Kelsey Plum (Aces), Breanna Stewart (Liberty), Taurasi (Mercury), Alyssa Thomas (Connecticut Sun), A'ja Wilson (Aces) and Jackie Young (Aces)

Check out the ESPN Olympics hub page for the latest news, previews, in-depth features and more.

NBA and WNBA at the Olympics: Rosters, medal counts, more (2024)


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