Team USA men's basketball may have to recruit a robot to win a gold medal. At halftime of the team's 83-76 loss to France on Sunday of the Tokyo Olympics, a robot was seen draining three-pointers and half-court shots. The robot's name is CUE and is manufactured by Toyota.
Is this a glimpse of what basketball will look like in the future? Only time will tell, but having robots being part of the games is something Tokyo has been planning for a while. In a story by the Los Angeles Times in 2019, several robots were unveiled to be part of the Tokyo experience. It was named the "Tokyo 2020 Robot Project," and some of the things the robots were set to do was help retrieve hammers and javelins during throwing events at Olympic Stadium.
A basketball robot. For your pleasure. pic.twitter.com/5LZF2vpwNg— Ann Killion (@annkillion) July 25, 2021
"It's one of the unique initiatives," Masa Takaya, a Tokyo 2020 spokesman, said during an interview at the organizing headquarters. The shooting robot was not introduced at the time, but it was clear that it stole the show during a disappointing game for Team USA.
"We have to be more consistent," USA coach Gregg Popovich said after the game. "We had two nine-point leads and one 10-point lead, and then an eight-point lead at the end of the game, and we gave all of those up because of lack of consistent defense, too many errors. We had, on offense, dry possessions where we didn't move and took ill-advised shots. So you understand it, you look at it, and you go to work and you try to get better."
Robots are taking free throws at the #TokyoOlympics.
Automatic. pic.twitter.com/AUoc6zSj4N— #TokyoOlympics (@NBCOlympics) July 25, 2021
Kevin Durant explained why the team suffered a tough loss. "We missed a lot of good shots that guys normally make," he said. "I don't think it really had to do with chemistry or getting to know each other. I just think it's a make or miss game, and we didn't hit the shots that we were supposed to late in the game in the fourth quarter, but I think we will be better next game." Team USA will face Iran on Wednesday and the Czech Republic on Saturday.