It takes adversity to provoke a sleeping or complacent giant to resurrect or push themselves to greater heights. This is true in any field, and in particular, in any sport. We have seen it in tennis, with the Big 3 serving as examples of it. The American Men’s Basketball team also has a documented history of responding to the world’s challenges to their throne in ‘their’ game. Their most recent response to adversity is chronicled in The Redeem Team. How did this term get coined?
The USA responded to the threat from world basketball with 1992s ‘The Dream Team‘. However, 2004, per the montages, was christened by the media as the Bronze Age. I remember this international ridicule even making its way to pop culture, with Rush Hour 3 (2007) being a prime example. There is a scene where the taxi driver told Carter, “You can’t even beat the Europeans in basketball anymore. The Dream Team’ is dead.” Hence, this was a matter of national pride.
Even Kobe Bryant recounted it in some archival footage. He spoke about a Celtics fan talking to him about the Olympic gold. The goal of redemption united fans divided by the NBA, but all the stars had to align first.
What’s good about The Redeem Team?
Redemption was the goal, but the title’s last word is crucial. This documentary has takeaways that one can use in team sports or any team. The crucial word here is ‘team’. A collection of stars on the paint was enough to send a shiver down the spines of the opponents and convert them into fanboys. Jon Weinbach showed this with archival clips of the 1992 Olympics’ Dream Team posing for pictures and voiceovers, revealing/reminding (depending on your age) fans that they signed autographs for their opponents.
Gradually, the charm evaporated and foreign aspirations led to successful challenges to the USA’s perch. How were the Americans supposed to overcome this setback? We know that they did in Beijing, but the journey combined with the redemption is what audiences can experience in The Redeem Team.
THE REDEEM TEAM!!!! 🥇🇺🇸 https://t.co/8YPHLI7IyF
— LeBron James (@KingJames) September 13, 2022
While The Redeem Team shows audiences the journey back to the top, it also dedicates enough time to the downward spiral or different priorities that led to that. Focus on individual goals gets time in the spotlight, without making it seem like a selfish move by that player.
Was it just the Olympics? The documentary talks about this as well. In doing so, the narrative never deviates, forming the core principle of team dynamics being important. A team that stays together, bonds, pushes each other, and sheds their identity of great individuals. No one ever doubted the level of Team USA, but questions about a fantasy team gelling together were always there.
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We got to see this in full flow when the documentary showed audiences the team’s cohesiveness in the 2007 FIBA Americas Championship and the quadrennial sporting extravaganza a year later. What makes The Redeem Team work is that, along with each archival clip, audiences can hear the men that mattered share their psychology and mindset. It enriches the documentary as fans understand the players’ perspectives of what was happening during those key crunch moments.
What’s not good about The Redeem Team?
The documentary certainly forgot the word ‘Team’ and went for the team’s biggest stars. The narrators are primarily the big guns in the NBA, i.e. Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, and Carmelo Anthony; with a large focus on the late great Kobe Bryant. Is this bad? No. What’s ‘bad’ is that we didn’t get to hear enough from Chris Bosh, Chris Paul, and Dwight Howard.
This Netflix documentary also missed the opportunity to showcase these same players competing hard against each other in the NBA. While the team dynamics surged, there is no way they would have let the team USA camaraderie impact their franchise seasons.
Any split-second moment could have been woven into The Redeem Team to document the true challenge the players faced. Akin to how Bryant charged his Lakers teammate in Beijing, there is no doubt he would have been at his supreme best when he came up against the Cavaliers in the 2007 NBA season.
Also Read: Does ‘Hustle’ Star And New York Knicks’ Fan Adam Sandler Play Basketball?
Should you watch The Redeem Team?
The Redeem Team is for the basketball buffs, to savor the time their favorite NBA stars truly reclaimed their spot as the best in the world. The Netflix Original can help one relive the Olympic journey, as it dedicates a large chunk of the run-time to show audiences the games against Greece, Spain, Argentina, and the gold medal match.
Despite missing out on certain elements, The Redeem Team has enough to attract hardcore basketball fans. For a balance of sporting glamor, the Olympic experience, and ‘the things each athlete puts their body and mind through’, sports fans may lap up this documentary. Big name usage will work to draw in the casual audience and let the world witness the backstory of a Phoenix (not the Suns) rising from the ashes.