During his postgame press conference, Krzyzewski reminisced about Wade’s big shots and Bryant’s four-point play in 2008 and about how James and Bryant led Team USA to another gold two years ago in London.
Before the previous two Olympics, the Americans disappointed with a bronze showing in 2004 in Athens.
"Over the last eight years along with (Kevin) Durant and (Chris) Paul and Carmelo (Anthony) and those guys, they’ve really set a great example of how you should play the game and love the game," Krzyzewski said. "I think it’s filtered through all aspects of U.S. basketball now. The kids are better, they appreciate the game better at all levels, and it starts with those guys."
USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo and Krzyzewski, who will coach the 2016 team in Rio de Janeiro, announced their 28-player pool for the next three summers on Thursday.
The list includes veterans James, Durant, Paul and Anthony as well as newcomers Paul George, Blake Griffin and Kyrie Irving.
Krzyzewski teased a reporter when asked Wednesday night whether James, the two-time reigning NBA MVP, could be swayed to rejoin the roster. James, who has played in three straight Olympics, hasn’t said whether he would once again compete.
"Oh, he’s got a long way to go," Krzyzewski joked. "There are a lot of good players."