The U.S. men’s basketball team was upset by Nigeria on Saturday evening in its first exhibition game ahead of the Tokyo Olympics, a stunning outcome even if the effects are more symbolic than likely to affect the United States’ eventual gold medal hopes.
Nigeria defeated a Team U.S.A. roster stacked with All-N.B.A. players, 90-87, at Mandalay Bay Arena in Las Vegas. It was the first win by an African team over the U.S. men’s national team.
The loss drops Team U.S.A.’s record to 54-3 in exhibition games held since 1992, when N.B.A. players were first allowed to play in the Olympics. The team had not lost an exhibition game since 2019, a 98-94 upset by Australia ahead of the FIBA World Cup.
Only nine years ago, the United States beat Nigeria, 156-73, at the 2012 Olympics in London.
In Saturday’s stunner, Kevin Durant scored a team-high 17 points for Team U.S.A. Jayson Tatum had 15 points, and Damian Lillard added 14.