Host City: Athina, Greece
Venue(s): Olympic Indoor Arena, Helleniko Olympic Complex, Hellinikon; Olympic Indoor Hall, Athens Olympic Sports Complex Spiros Loues, Maroussi
Date Started: August 15, 2004
Date Finished: August 28, 2004
Format: Round-robin pools advance teams to classification matches.
The United States entered the 2004 Olympic basketball tournament as the favorite based only on past reputation. But at the 2002 World Championships, the US team had finished only 6th, despite playing with NBA players. At the Olympics, the United States lost two preliminary games in Group B to Lithuania and Puerto Rico. The Groups were led by undefeated Lithuania with Spain winning all its games in Group A. The United States was drawn against Spain in the quarter-finals, and did win, but only by 102-94.
The semi-final match-ups saw Italy defeat Lithuania 100-96, while the United States faced Argentina, which had advanced against Greece in a close game. In the semi-finals, the Argentines, led by NBA players Manu Ginobili, Andrès Nocioni, and Walter Hermann, beat the USA, 89-81, but the game was really not that close. In the final, Argentina won the gold medal, 84-68, over Italy. The USA did win the bronze medal, defeating Lithuania in that game, 104-96.