The Redeem Team
Derrick Dunn

Derrick Dunn

The Redeem Team is another slam dunk documentary from Netflix

Director Jon Weinbach blesses basketball fans with a winning documentary in The Redeem Team from Netflix. Using unprecedented Olympic footage and behind-the-scenes material, The Redeem Team tells the story of the U.S. Olympic Men’s Basketball Team’s quest for gold at the Olympic Games Beijing 2008 following the previous team’s shocking performance four years earlier in Athens. 

The documentary offers a fascinating portrait of team building and features insightful interviews with athletes and coaches from Dwayne Wade and LeBron James to Mike “Coach K” Krzyzewski, who reflect on how The Redeem Team set a new standard for American basketball.

In 2004, the Americans were one of the favorites to win Olympic gold after winning the previous three consecutive Olympic Games. However, the team won bronze while losing three games against its opponents, which was the most games ever lost by a U.S. men’s Olympic basketball. During this time, I was living in the United Kingdom during Air Force enlistment, so given the time difference, I couldn’t always see the games.

Thankfully many NCOs and fellow Airmen would stay up to watch the games and fill me in. Early in the documentary, we hear from LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Dwayne Wade, and Carlos Boozer, who all hint at lacking the experience to play for the GOLD due to their youth and time in the league. Additionally, King James speaks about the coaching style of Larry Brown, who was coming off a championship in the 2004 NBA Finals.

Watching the documentary, I learned about Jerry Colangelo. Selecting the team was solely up to Mr. Colangelo. Colangelo made it clear he would require three-year commitments. In addition, since I’m not deep into sports, this is all news to me. Jon Weinbach creates a flowing narrative that keeps non-sports fanatics invested as the team tries to win the gold.  

It was also great to see some inspirational moments from the legendary Coach K as he inspires the team. The players who speak in the documentary all come across as organic and give detailed accounts of their experiences. Naturally, the moments of seeing Kobe Bryant and his mamba mentality got me a little misty-eyed, particularly when seeing Gigi on screen.

However, the doc doesn’t want the focus primarily on Kobe, with everyone who wanted to participate getting equal time to speak. My favorite moments in the documentary were seeing the players during downtime and bonding, so I wished we had more of that. Nevertheless, The Redeem Team is another slam-dunk documentary from Netflix.


Final Grade A –

The Redeem Team is available to stream Friday, October 7th. 

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