Over the past 50 years, basketball has grown exponentially in popularity and is now the second-most popular sport on the planet. As a result, the global talent pool continues to expand, and American domination is no longer a foregone conclusion.
Still, Team USA has won seven of the past eight gold medals in men's basketball. When the Americans are able to assemble a team full of their best superstars, they remain difficult to beat.
After a five-year break, EuroBasket returned this month and gave the best European basketball teams a chance to play for one of the most coveted awards in hoops.
But the tournament also provided the basketball world with a chance to reconsider the power structure of European basketball ahead of two major upcoming global tournaments: the 2023 FIBA World Cup and the 2024 Summer Olympics.
Team USA remains the top dog within the entire international field, but the gap between the American program and other national teams continues to shrink. It was just three years ago that the U.S. men's national team finished seventh at the FIBA World Cup, a result previously unthinkable.
And while Team USA's focus has always been more on the Olympics than the World Cup, there are a number of teams that could potentially threaten the Americans' return to the top of the medal stand both next year in Manila and in 2024 in Pairs.