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YouTube Gold: US-France Highlights

The US truly struggled in exhibition season and in an opening loss to France but what a beautiful climb back to the top it made.

United States v France Men’s Basketball - Olympics: Day 15
SAITAMA, JAPAN - AUGUST 07: Kevin Durant #7 of Team United States celebrates following the United States’ victory over France in the Men’s Basketball Finals game on day fifteen of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Saitama Super Arena on August 07, 2021 in Saitama, Japan.
Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Well what else could today’s YouTube Gold be other than highlights of the US-France gold medal game?

The US has now won four straight Olympic gold medals in basketball and Kevin Durant helped win three of them.

This one was almost certainly the most challenging. The US was on the smallish side, had limited time to come together as a team and Durant had some real challenges of his own: he missed last season after his Achilles injury and Covid meant the NBA season was both compressed and finished far later than normal.

But it wasn’t just Durant who overcame the struggles. This team looked for a while like the wheels might come off. Yet they came together and took out a really good French team to win gold.

It’s really a remarkable tradition: the US won gold in every Olympics from 1932 until 1972, won again in 1976, boycotted in ‘80, won in ‘84, won bronze in ‘88, Dream Teamed in ‘92 and ‘96, won again in 2000, failed dreadfully in 2004, then won everything since.

We’re glad that the players clearly take pride in what Shooter Flatch, in the movie Hoosiers, called “the greatest game ever invented.” We loved the commitment they showed, even when it wasn't looking very good, and how they wrapped themselves in the American flag when it was over.

We taught the world the game and in turn, they’ve taught us a few lessons back. But it’s still our game and we loved seeing the guys overcome their struggles this time around and the obvious and immense pride they took in winning. In the beginning, they looked uncertain and disorganized.

By the end though, they got to that point that we see every year in the NCAA Tournament, where the unhappy parts of the game peel away and you’re left with the simple, pure magnificence of teams that, more than anything, want to win.

Shooter would have understood: in the end, this team found their inner Hoosiers and showed us, once more, the pure beauty and beating heart of the greatest game ever invented.