Jon Weinbach co-produced probably one of the best sports documentaries of all time with The Last Dance, definitely the best basketball documentary. But also in other trades, he was interested in sports in general and basketball in particular. He wrote the 2012 documentary The Other Dream Team, about the 1992 Lithuanian basketball team and their success at the Barcelona Olympics, and he directed and wrote the 2015 documentary Uncompromising: Kyrie Irving, about the Australian basketball player. With The Redeem Team, he turns to Netflix not only to revisit the popular sport of ball but re-examine the story of a team for whom the Olympics were about more than just a simple gold medal, rather the key to something bigger.
Sporting events can contribute to a nation’s self-confidence. “We’re somebody again” was the motto when Germany won the 1954 World Cup. Even without excessive patriotism, most people would have to concede that the United States is expected to have the best basketball team on the planet. There were certainly top athletes from all over the world, such as “The Great Wall” Yao Ming or “German Wunderkind” Dirk Nowitzki, but the bulk of the talent is in possession of US citizenship. However, 2002 marked the beginning of the end of the superiority in international comparison. For the first time since 1978, the team failed to make the top four at the FIBA World Championship, and on home soil too. Three lost matches at the 2004 Olympic Games may not sound like much at first, but that is already more defeats than all previous Olympic participations combined. At the FIBA World Championship 2006, it was only enough for third place. Something had to change.