Their dreams for gold will remain unrealised, but the holy grail beckons for Australia’s men’s basketball team.

Soundly beaten by the US in their Tokyo Olympics semi-final on the back of a second-half capitulation, the Boomers head into Saturday’s bronze medal match against Slovenia with history in their sights.

Watch our Boomers play for a first ever men’s basketball Olympic medal at 9pm AEST on Saturday in the bronze medal match against Slovenia. Stream the Olympics live and free on 7plus.

Australia has never won a medal at an Olympic or World Cup level in men’s basketball, a frustrating run riddled with near-misses.

Four times they have reached the bronze medal match at the Olympics only to stumble at the final hurdle.

At the Rio Games, they suffered a heart-breaking one-point loss to Spain when a late whistle against Patty Mills with just seconds left on the clock gifted the Spanish two free-throws, which they duly made.

The Boomers also reached the equivalent match at the 2019 World Cup – where they went down 67-59 to France.

“We’re going to a place where the country’s never been before. Australia has a proud tradition of basketball but we’ve never medalled,” coach Brian Goorjian said after the loss to the US.

“It’s as important as anything all of us as players, coaches have ever been involved in.”

Standing in the Boomers’ way is Slovenia, who themselves won’t be short on motivation.

They could become the first nation since Croatia and Lithuania in 1992 to win a medal on their Olympic debut.

In Luka Doncic they have something Australia don’t – a bona fide NBA superstar capable of winning a game on his own.

In Slovenia’s opening game at the Tokyo Games he poured in 48 points against Argentina – the second-highest scoring game in Olympics history.

In the one-point semi-final loss to France – his first loss at international level – he recorded just the third triple-double at the Olympics with 16 points, 10 rebounds and 18 assists.

It was the first triple-double since Lebron James managed the feat at the London 2012 Games, and it came after he fell just two rebounds short of achieving the feat in the quarter-final win over Germany.

“He’s one of the most exciting basketball players – and I’ve been around the block – that I’ve seen,” Goorjian said.

“In international competition he’s something like 17-0.

“He’s 23 years old, doing it in the NBA, it’s a really exciting time ahead and I don’t have the answer, but if we play against him we’re going to have to come up with something.

“He’s really special.”

https://i0.wp.com/idonotknowhow.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/06b22046621c08783833c1b4829ad9742f6dd627-16x9-x0y0w1920h1080.png?fit=660%2C371&ssl=1https://i0.wp.com/idonotknowhow.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/06b22046621c08783833c1b4829ad9742f6dd627-16x9-x0y0w1920h1080.png?resize=150%2C150&ssl=1IDoNotKnowHowToo!How ToArgentina,Australia,Basketball,Boomers head,coach,France,Germany,LeBron James,Lithuania,London,Luka Doncic,NBA,Olympics,Patty Mills,Slovenia,Spain,the NBA,the Tokyo Games,World Cup
Their dreams for gold will remain unrealised, but the holy grail beckons for Australia’s men’s basketball team.Soundly beaten by the US in their Tokyo Olympics semi-final on the back of a second-half capitulation, the Boomers head into Saturday’s bronze medal match against Slovenia with history in their sights.Watch our...