A key member of the US team dumped out in the Basketball World Cup quarter-finals has hit out at the "disrespect" and "slander" directed at the deposed champions.
Myles Turner of the NBA's Indiana Pacers made an impassioned defence of Team USA after they were beaten for the second time in as many days on Thursday in China.
The world and Olympic champions will conclude their World Cup on Saturday against Poland and the best finish they can achieve is seventh place.
Writing on Twitter, the 23-year-old centre said: "We came up short, can't nobodies more upset than us, but I refuse to tolerate any slander for our play, you cannot question our heart, our character or are (our) spirit."
Turner added: "Don't disrespect us, this coaching staff or USA Basketball as a whole, but respect the world basketball is an international game, these countries are talented."
Turner said that the US team "sacrificed so much for our nation" and deserved recognition after many American players -- among them the NBA elite -- turned down the call.
"We're also the ones who stepped up to the plate when others stepped down," he wrote.
"We qualified our nation for the Olympics.
"We got some work to do to rebuild a legacy that was left before us, were on the wrong side of history indeed."
Wednesday's quarter-final loss to France was the United States' first defeat in the tournament for 13 years and raised doubts they will be able to defend their Olympic crown in Tokyo next summer.
Then on Thursday they were beaten by Serbia in a dead-rubber "classification" match -- they were down 32-7 after the first quarter but recovered somewhat to eventually go down 94-89.