Team USA rebounds for bronze

Updated: September 2, 2006, 10:53 AM ET
By Chris Sheridan | ESPN Insider
Saitama, Japan -- When they finally received their bronze medals after the best game they had played during the entire World Championship, the players on Team USA held their heads high and raised their arms to the crowd to acknowledge their cheers.

They were not ashamed. They were proud. LeBron James even cracked a big huge smile as the photographers snapped photos of what will be remembered for the next two years as the world's third-best team.

We report that fact not to mock them, but to throw them a little praise.

They earned it, not with what they did in the semifinals of this tournament, but with the way they exited it ... fiery, feisty, maybe even a little angry. But definitely not ashamed.