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YouTube Gold: The 2008 Basketball Gold Medal Game

Coach K’s first Olympic championship as head coach

Olympics Day 16 - Basketball
 BEIJING - AUGUST 24: (L-R) Deron Williams #7, Chris Bosh #12, Carlos Boozer #4, Le Bron James #6 and Jason Kidd #5 of the United States pose for photos with head coach Mike Krzyzewski after defeating Spain in the gold medal game during Day 16 of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games at the Beijing Olympic Basketball Gymnasium on August 24, 2008 in Beijing, China.
Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

One of Mike Krzyzewski’s more underrated accomplishments was coaching two teams at the same time.

Well, not strictly speaking. It was more of an overlap since his role with USA Basketball mostly started at the end of the college basketball season. But that also meant that he had minimal opportunity to get out on the recruiting trail and the fact that he still won two national championships while coaching the US Olympic Team to three gold medal performances.

The gold medal game in 2008, his first, was against Spain. The US had not yet re-established itself as a supreme power in international basketball. After Larry Brown’s train wreck in 2004, it wasn’t at all clear that the US could rebuild.

Jerry Colangelo, who took over as the Managing Director for USA Basketball in 2005 and, with the late Dean Smith playing a key role, chose Coach K to rebuild the program.

There are plenty of stories about the process on line so we won't get into that. But this game was really something.

It wasn’t an easy win - the US won 118-107 - but the reaction was beautiful as the US team, so jaded and selfish in Athens, jumped and celebrated like little kids.

The US would win again in 2012 and 2016, and they were all great, but this one was something else.

Two years later of course, Duke would win the NCAA championship. Between Duke and the Olympics, Mike Krzyzewski would go on to lead five teams to titles between 2008 and 2016.