The Oscar Project Reviews
It’s not surprising that just a few years after the excellent documentary The Last Dance (affiliate link), about the rise of Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls in the 1990s, that we get another excellent basketball documentary.
The Redeem Team (Netflix link) is a deep dive into the story of the 2008 Men’s US Olympic Basketball Team. While not as detailed as The Last Dance (affiliate link), it provides plenty of backstory to the events that led up to those Olympic Games in Beijing. We got to see the rise of the original Dream Team in The Last Dance (affiliate link), and this is the next logical chapter, looking at basketball when the world had caught up with the United States, and even our top talent wasn’t guaranteed a win on the world stage.
The film provides plenty of typical documentary fare with talking head interviews from the likes of LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, and Dwayne Wade, players on the team that had fallen short in 2004 and wanted to come back to the Olympics and regain the former glory. In addition to this, however, is going further back, not only to the original dream team, but even back to a controversial Olympic gold medal game where the Soviet Union beat the United States. This historical context serves to elevate the story of US Olympic Basketball and shows that it hasn’t all been sunshine and roses.
I would be remiss if I failed to mention the inclusion of Kobe Bryant in the film. He was an integral part of the 2008 team and was able to put his Lakers loyalties aside, facing down NBA teammate Pao Gasol in their very first game. One of the most touching scenes comes near the end of the film with the team celebrating Kobe’s birthday while at the Olympics. He can be seen with his daughters, including Gianna who was only two at the time. It was sobering to see that footage and hear the interviews with him at the time and only reminded me that he was gone too soon.
This documentary is essential viewing for any true sports fan, and should be included on the watchlist of anyone interested in great comeback stories. It is a great retelling of a relatively recent time in our sports history, and one that some people may not remember exactly the way it happened.
8 out of 10