For 1972 U.S. team, no silver lining
8/9/2012, 2:49 p.m.
"It becomes real every Olympics," Collins said. "It becomes real every time I see a medal ceremony and hear the national anthem and see an athlete represent his country. It's the moment that I feel was stolen from us, being up on that podium together, wearing that gold around our necks."
Said Mike Bantom, Collins' teammate on the '72 team and now an NBA senior vice president of player development who's also traveling with Team USA at the 2012 Summer Games: "It doesn't impact my day-to-day life. I'm not sitting around brooding about it. As far as where we are today, I think most of us have moved on, and I think we all feel justified in not taking that silver medal. But I don't think you ever get over it."
Not fully. And maybe never unless Gallagher's long-shot quest is successful.
Members of the '72 squad are nonetheless unanimous in saying that the Munich Games should be remembered, above all, for the slayings of 11 Israeli athletes by Palestinian kidnappers.
"The first act of terrorism as we know today," Collins calls it.
Yet their own unhappy anniversary, ready or not, will suddenly get shoved to the forefront should Team USA and the new Russia win their semifinal games Friday, forcing an unlikely rematch of sorts in Sunday's gold-medal game.
"Imagine the story with that," Team USA star Kobe Bryant said this week. "That would be incredible."
The following ESPN.com examination spans five chapters, one for each Olympic ring, as Collins and several teammates continue to wrestle with the aftermath from what is universally regarded as the most controversial finish in basketball's international history.