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5 greatest basketball teams in Olympic history

From the 'Dream Team' to the formidable Soviet Union team in the 70s and 80s, we look at the best basketball teams in Olympic history.

The dream team
‘The dream team’ pose for a team photo ahead of the 1992 Olympics

Basketball has been a constant feature in the Summer Olympics programme since it’s inclusion in 1936 at Berlin. The first 7 editions saw the United States Men’s team emerge as champions, before the Soviet Union ended their streak in 1972 after a controversial final. 

Undoubtedly, the United States have been the most successful team in Basketball having won a remarkable 14 of 17 editions they have participated in, with the Soviet Union (1972 & 1988), Yugoslavia (1980) and Argentina (2004) the only other countries to have won the gold medal in the sport. 

The last two Olympics have seen the United States emerge winners over Spain, who will feel hard done to have not won a single gold medal yet. Their dominance does speak of their superiority, but there have been a number of special teams over the years as well. 

Here, we take a look at the 5 greatest teams ever: 

5) Spain - 2008, 2012 

Spain Basketball
The team that emerged World Champions in 2006 have not tasted Olympic success yet

Spain must wonder what they must do to bring home a gold medal after having finished as runners-up in the Olympics at Beijing and London. Twice beaten by the United States in the final, the golden generation of Spanish Basketball will be hoping it’s third time lucky in Rio. 

A total of 10 players from across the two teams in 2008 and 2012 have played in the NBA with brothers Pau and Marc Gasol, Serge Ibaka, Ricky Rubio and Jose Caledron the most notable. 

It is a team that achieved its ultimate success in 2006 when they won the FIBA World Championship. They are currently ranked second in the world, only behind the United States.

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