Team USA suffered a crushing defeat at the FIBA World Cup, losing to France 89-79. The upset snapped a 58-game Team USA win streak and left the Americans without a gold medal in a major international tournament for the first time since 2006.
Despite competing in the 2019 FIBA World Cup with a roster that lacked the superstar names typically associated with Team USA, the Americans were still far-and-away the most talented group – and the odds-on favorites to win the gold medal.
However, the upset loss didn’t come as a shock to Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang.
Yang, a dark-horse candidate whose cult-like social media fanbase has helped him outlast higher-profile politicians like Kirsten Gillibrand, tweeted that Team USA’s loss was “not surprising”:
“Team USA Basketball not winning the gold medal is disappointing but not surprising. The rest of the world is catching up in talent and other national teams have higher levels of continuity. Hats off to the players who are repping the US – they are doing it the right way.”
Donovan Mitchell led the US with 29 points, but the Utah Jazz guard failed to score in the fourth quarter as France recovered from a seven-point deficit to secure a double-digit victory and a spot in the semifinals.
Team USA’s World Cup roster was more noteworthy this year for the superstars who declined to participate than it was for the players who did make the trip to China. However, it’s not as though the US fielded a team of scrubs.
Analysis from ESPN estimated that the Team USA roster would win 56.4 games against a neutral schedule, better than any NBA team. Kemba Walker, an All-NBA guard who recently signed a four-year, $141 million contract with the Boston Celtics, scored just 10 points in the loss against France.
Despite being eliminated from medal contention, the United States will remain at the FIBA World Cup. Team USA will face off against Serbia and Nikola Jokic in the consolation round on Thursday. They’ll return to the US with a best-case finish of fifth place, along with a chip on their shoulders heading into the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
Meanwhile, Andrew Yang will participate in Thursday’s Democratic primary debate on ABC after earning a spot on the stage by ranking among the top six polling candidates.