United States basketball Olympians LeBron James and Dwyane Wade are joining forces again, this time as the executive producers of a new Netflix documentary, The Redeem Team. The project will be directed by Jon Weinbach, who also produced ESPN’s docuseries The Last Dance, and it is the first team-up of its kind between Netflix and the International Olympic Committee.
“In 2008, I played with heroes of mine, all-stars, friends, and future teammates. Outside of winning and showing the world that we were still the most dominant, our other big challenge was changing the perception of what everyone thought about the NBA and USA Basketball!” Wade said in a statement. “I’m excited for everyone to get an opportunity to go behind the scenes and see all the work that went into this iconic team — The Redeem Team!”
The Redeem Team intends to be “a fascinating portrait of team building” to show Team USA Basketball’s journey back from years of disappointment to reclaim its position as the No. 1 national program in the world. It will also contain “unprecedented Olympic footage and behind-the-scenes material,” including interviews from the likes of Team USA Basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski, James, Wade, late team captain Kobe Bryant, and more.
“What makes [the Redeem Team] significant is that unlike every American basketball team, these guys had lost not once, not twice, but three times… The bloom was off the rose with USA basketball,” Weinbach said in an exclusive interview with Tudum, the official fandom companion site for Netflix. “I wanted to remind people why it was a redemption.”
Basketball fans have often wondered who would win in a hypothetical faceoff between the original Dream Team from the 1992 Summer Olympics and the Redeem Team. Two years ago, James gave his opinion on an episode from Season 5 of Uninterrupted: The Shop.
“I don’t know who would’ve won. I’m going to pick us, obviously, because I’m on that team,” the 4x NBA champion said. “But when you got so many good players, man, you never know. Whoever got the ball last could win the game.”
He even joked that there might’ve even been a “game-within-the-game” between two of the sport’s most legendary alpha dogs. “MJ and Kobe are gonna have their own little game,” James said. “It ain’t gonna be five-on-five. It’s gonna be one-on-one, four-on-four… It definitely would’ve been a hell of a game,” he said.
But a few months later, Coach Krzyzewski sat down for an episode of JJ Reddick’s podcast The Old Man & the Three, and gave a different opinion. Krzyzewski was both an assistant coach for the Dream Team as well as the head coach for the Redeem Team 16 years later. “In their prime you’re talking about 11 Hall of Famers and the greatest team,” Coach K said about the Barcelona squad, and he steadfastly gave the nod to the Dream Team “rock stars” instead.
“The Redeem Team represents the very best of what the Olympics are all about,” said Olympic Channel Services GM, Mark Parkman. “This film will bring viewers directly inside that team and the Olympic Games Beijing 2008 by showcasing the personality and dynamics of a special group of superstars who came together as one to reclaim basketball supremacy on the biggest stage in sports.”
Mark your calendars for Friday, October 7, and catch the launch of The Redeem Team, which streams worldwide on Netflix.