Olympics

Tokyo Olympics: United States Women's National Team looks to continue dynastic run in 2021

By definition, a dynasty is "a powerful group that maintains its position for a considerable time."

How's 25 years for a considerable amount of time? That is, of course, how long the United States Women's National Team has maintained its position at the top of the basketball world, beginning with Olympic Gold at the 1996 games in Atlanta.

TOKYO OLYMPICS: Preview to women's basketball | Five women's players to watch

Over this span, the U.S. Women's team has compiled a 95-1 record in Olympic and World Cup play, winning five World Cups and six consecutive Olympic Gold medals.

As Team USA goes for its seventh consecutive gold medal in Tokyo, some of the most important figures in the history of USA Basketball will be present, and it begins at the top.

A member of the 1996 team that took home the gold, Dawn Staley graces the sidelines as Team USA's head coach for the first time on the Olympic stage. Staley, who also won gold at the 2000 Games in Sydney before closing her career as an Olympian by winning gold at the 2004 Games in Athens, is now leading a group that consists of two former teammates.

At 34, Staley was one of the veterans on a 2004 team that also featured two first-time Olympians in Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi. 17 years (and four gold medals) later, Bird and Taurasi are back on the Olympic stage for what they say is the final time, with the aim of making it five gold medals in as many tries.

Along with Argentina's Luis Scola on the men's side, Bird and Taurasi head a trio of five-time Olympic basketball players at the Tokyo Games. In the history of the Olympic Games, only five other players can say they've competed on the Olympic stage five times.

History is unfolding in real-time.

While the 40-year-old Bird and 39-year-old Taurasi are the veterans of the group, Team USA's roster also features six first-time Olympians in Ariel Atkins, Napheesa Collier, Skylar Diggins-Smith, Chelsea Gray, Jewell Loyd and reigning WNBA MVP A'ja Wilson.

Soon to be 25, Wilson is one of the league's brightest young stars and only stands to get better with time. A graduate of the University of South Carolina, things come full circle for Wilson, who will spend her first Olympics playing for the same coach she enjoyed an illustrious college career under.

As Wilson and the other six first-timers get their first taste of Olympic glory, they each have the luxury of soaking knowledge from the two four-time gold medalists that stand to make more history. That dynamic is exactly how dynasties remain at the top, and it's evident throughout the makeup of this roster.

It's imperative to shine a light on Sylvia Fowles, who, after winning Olympic Gold as a rookie in 2008, has an opportunity to win her fourth consecutive gold in Tokyo. Tina Charles, who was taken with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 WNBA Draft, is in line to win her third gold medal.

That brings us to the two-time Olympians.

Brittney Griner and Breanna Stewart each made their Olympic debuts at the 2016 Games in Rio. There, Griner averaged 9.8 points and 5.6 rebounds while a rookie Stewart averaged 8.1 points on 73.3 percent shooting in a reserve role.

Much has changed in five years.

While Griner is expected to reprise the role of a dominant interior presence, Stewart is now the featured member on Team USA's roster and arguably the most skilled player in the world.

The most decorated champion in college basketball history, Stewart is also a one-time WNBA MVP, two-time champion and two-time Finals MVP. The Tokyo Olympics provide Stewart with the opportunity to add a second gold medal to the résumè before the age of 27.

From six first-time Olympians to the two five-time Olympians, the United States Women's National Team has an opportunity to make history in a number of ways at the Tokyo Games.

The sheer dominance of the program is a testament to the continuity in place and from amplifying the most important figures - from the head coach in Staley to the trio of Bird, Taurasi and Fowles to the next generation, which is headed by Stewart and Wilson.

The dynasty could very well continue well beyond this year, but it begins with a chance to make history in Tokyo.

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA or its clubs.

More from NBA.com

RJ Barrett, New York Knicks defence
Barrett up for defensive challenge in Year 3
Gilbert McGregor
wnba-ftr.jpg
2021 WNBA broadcast schedule
NBA.com staff
CONNECTICUT SUN’S JONQUEL JONES NAMED 2021 KIA WNBA MOST VALUABLE PLAYER
Sun’s Jonquel Jones named 2021 MVP
NBA.com Staff
Scottie Barnes, Toronto Raptors
Nurse: Barnes' role will be "huge" for Raptors
Kyle Irving
Connecticut Sun Head Coach Curt Miller Named 2021 Coach Of the Year
Sun's Curt Miller named Coach Of the Year
NBA.com Staff
Former Raptors guard Kyle Lowry is now a member of the Heat
Lowry will kick Heat into new gear
Scott Rafferty
More News