“It’s definitely become a rivalry between us,” said James regarding the Argentinian squad, which has beaten Team USA twice since they started using NBA players for the squad. The South American country became the first to defeat an NBA/Team USA team in the 2002 World Championship in Indianapolis, then beat them again in the 2004 Olympics in Athens. In between those two games, the Americans beat Argentina twice in the 2003 Tournament of the Americas, one by eight points and the other by 33 in the championship game.
However, regardless of what LeBron thinks, players for Argentina seem to disagree. “Our biggest rival is the team we are going to face on Saturday,” said Argentinian Carlos Delfino, who has taken a bigger role with the team since Manu Ginobili, Andres Nocioni, and Walter Herrmann all decided not to play this time around. All three are expected to play in next year’s Olympics. Argentina is the only other undefeated team in the tournament, but has not been winning quite at the pace that the Americans have.
Regardless of the past, Team USA should have no rivals on the international circuit. Despite not being successful the past couple of years, no one on that team should admit that another country is a rival, even one who has the talent to defeat the newest attempt at recreating the Dream Team.
If LeBron wants to fire up the other players on the team by convincing them that Argentina is a rival, so be it, but there is no reason to say it publicly and embarrass himself like he did.