5 biggest upsets suffered by USA National basketball team in the 21st Century 

Nigeria v United States
Nigeria v United States

The USA Men's National Basketball Team for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics suffered one of the biggest upsets in its history on Sunday in Las Vegas in an exhibition game against Nigeria. The U.S. basketball team lost the tie 90-87, despite fielding a starting five lineup that included players like Kevin Durant, Damian Lillard and Jayson Tatum.

It was a complete shocker considering the U.S. basketball team is widely regarded as the best team in the world due to the number of NBA stars that play for the country. This wasn't the first deflating loss for the USA, though, as there have been multiple instances where they have been handed shocking losses by lowly ranked teams.

On that note, we rank the five biggest upsets caused against Team USA in the 21st century.

#5 USA vs Nigeria 2021

Nigeria v United States
Nigeria v United States

The U.S. basketball team's opened their pre-Olympic campaign against Nigeria on Sunday night in Las Vegas. They fielded a strong starting five comprising Kevin Durant, Damian Lillard, Jayson Tatum, Bradley Beal and Bam Adebayo. Durant led the charge with a team-high 17 points for the USA but only shot 4-of-13 from the floor.

Meanwhile, Lillard had 14 points, but he too struggled to shoot the ball well, making only 4 of his 10 attempts from the field. It was just the first game for the squad since training camp began four days ago but they were expected to win.

However, Nigeria, who fielded six NBA players, had other ideas. They were lethal with their shooting, making 20 threes on the night, two times more than the Americans shot from deep, which helped them clinch the win.

Team USA's biggest blowout win came against the Nigerians at the 2012 Olympics in London, when they beat Nigeria 156-73. Although this was just an exhibition game, the Nigerians got sweet revenge for the huge loss they suffered nine years back through this win.

The Nigerian team included Gabe Vincent, Precious Achiuwa and KZ Okpala of the Miami Heat, Chimezie Metu of the Sacramento Kings, Josh Okogie of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Miye Oni of the Utah Jazz.

#4 USA vs France 2019, FIBA World Cup

FIBA World Cup 2019
FIBA World Cup 2019

The FIBA World Championship 2019 tournament was team USA's worst to date. They finished seventh (worst in their history) and saw their 58-game winning streak in international tournaments come to an end against France in the quarter-finals. Team USA lost the tie 79-89 against a French team that included NBA stars Rudy Gobert, Nicolas Batum and Evan Fournier.

It was one of the weakest squads the USA had sent for a major tournament in a long time as multiple superstars from the NBA declined the invitation to go for the tournament in China. The roster included the likes of Jayson Tatum, Donovan Mitchell, Khris Middleton and Jaylen Brown, who were just developing into the stars they are today.

#3 USA vs Yugoslavia 2002, FIBA Wolrd Championship

Team USA started with a 5-0 run in the 2002 FIBA World Championship, which was held in their own backyard in Indianapolis. After losing a game to a fairly competitive side in the form of Argentina, the Americans went on to lose two of their next three games in the tournament, subsequently failing to win a medal.

One of those losses came against Yugoslavia in the quarter-finals, a team that included NBA stars like Vlade Divac and Peja Stojakovic. Team USA lost the tie by three points (78-81) and fell into the classification round.

Reggie Miller, Paul Pierce, and Ben Wallace were some of the top NBA stars playing in that tournament as the U.S. could only finish sixth on home soil.

#2 USA vs Greece, 2006 FIBA World Championship

The 2006 FIBA World Championship offered the Americans a great chance to salvage some pride and clinch a gold medal after their dismal outing in the 2002 edition of the tournament.\.

They sent a young squad comprising LeBron James, Chris Paul, Dwayne Wade and Carmelo Anthony, who were just making their way to stardom in the NBA. But they failed yet again, this time against a team that did not have any NBA players on their roster.

Team USA lost 95-101 to Greece in the quarter-final stage of the tournament. It was their first major tournament under head coach Mike Krzyzewski, though, as they went on to dominate, winning three straight Olympic gold medals starting with the 2008 Olympics.

#1 USA vs Puerto Rico, 2004 Olympics, Athens

After the FIBA World Championship debacle in 2002, the USA sent a strong squad headlined by Tim Duncan and Allen Iverson as the team's two leading players. 19-year-old LeBron James was also on that roster as one of the younger players to the 2004 Olympics.

The USA surprisingly lost by a whopping 19 points to Puerto Rico (73-92) in their opening game of that Olympic tournament. It was one of their worst losses ever, considering it came against a lowly ranked side and the margin of loss as well.

The US ended up clinching a podium spot nonetheless, winning the bronze medal.

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Edited by Parimal
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