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US 'rocks it up' to top the world on Olympic stage
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The whole U.S. squad joined the post-game press conference for the celebration of their come-back to the top of the world after they beat Spain 118-107 in the final of the Olympic men's basketball tournament in Beijing on Sunday.

Kobe Bryant, who had 13 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter, definitely had the right to roar, "Rock it up, baby!" to call an end of the committment of the U.S. team to the Olympics after they had been absent from the throne for eight years.

The U.S. kept an unbeaten record of 8-0, averaging 27.9-point victory margin per game in the tournament and beating world champions Spain, runners-up Greece and defending title-holders Argentina on their way to the crown.

"I want to thank all the members of the U.S. team and Jerry Colangero (national director) for the three-year program. We showed great characters in the tournament, maybe the greatest in the international basketball history. No other team had the same characters as us because if we don't have them, we won't be here at the top of the world," U.S. head coach Mike Krzyzewski said.

Colangero, who asked most of the squad for a three-year committment to bring the U.S. basketball back to the top, said the USA Basketball would discuss the possibility of setting up another program after the Beijing Olympics.

"Did I say it is a six-year program," he joked at the press conference, which was attended by about one hundred journalists around the world.

Bryant dragged forward his jersey to show the "U.S.A." words on it when his teammates celebrated the victory after the final whistle.

"People said the NBA players are selfish, arrogant and individual. Today we showed we can play together," Bryant said.

Spain, led by the Los Angeles Lakers center Pau Gasol, staged one of the best championship matches in the Olympic history as they fought bravely to the final minute.

They had chances to win the game as they closed it to a four-point play for several times, but the U.S. proved a better team to hold the lead to the end.

Argentina overcame the loss of injured pivot Manu Ginobili to take the bronze medal by beating Lithuania 87-75 in an earlier game.

The South Americans denied the critics of a veteran, old-fashioned team to remain the elites of the world.

The hosts China also produced one of their best Olympics though they finished another eight-placing in the tournament.

Yao Ming said the eighth-placed finishing here was the most difficult, on the other hand, most cherishable achievement to him and the whole Chinese team.

The 2012 London Olympic will feature a complete different basketball tournament, in which new rules will be adopted and new courts will be set up for possible expanded 16 teams.

(Xinhua News Agency August 24, 2008)

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