Argentina showed in the Athens Olympic Games that they have become one of basketball's superpowers. In the semi-finals they knocked out the United States’ so-called ‘dream team’, winners of the last three gold medals. And then in the final, they beat Italy 84-69 to win the gold medal, with Luis Scola scoring 25 points. Argentina’s best finish in the Olympics before Athens had been fourth in 1952.
Argentina had arguably the best all around player in the competition in Manu Ginoboli, who plays for San Antonio Spurs in the NBA, a player who can run, dunk, shoot and defend. Ginobili said the basketball title was even sweeter for Argentina because the country had also won an Olympic gold medal in soccer in Athens. “The most special thing you can do is win for your country. We win in soccer in the morning and then in basketball. Argentina is on top of the world because it is on top of the two biggest sports in the world today.”
Argentina have slowly been edging towards their new status. In 2002, they won the silver medal in the World Championship, their first medal at the tournament since 1950.