Could the USA national basketball squad have successfully humbled Spain earlier today without the benefit of Dr. Dre’s signature headphones? Probably, though without the dedicated reportage of the Washington Post’s Ivan Carter and Michael Lee, I’d have no idea about the contents of Team Redeem’s swag bag.

“Dre said we all need to make a beat and have it ready when we get back,” Dwight Howard said while explaining why the legendary artist gave them the headphones.

Actually, Dr. Dre is friends with LeBron James, who gave them to all the players before they left for China. You can find most of the players walking out the locker room after games with them hanging around their necks or atop their heads. Deron Williams and Tayshaun Prince slipped them off just before practice on Friday.

At first glance, the red-and-silver logo on the black headphones sort of makes them seem like they were made specifically for James, who wears No. 6. But Howard explained that the red symbol is actually the lowercase letter “b.”

The headphones are called, “Beats by Dr. Dre” and the website claims that are “the most advanced headphones ever developed” while letting listeners “experience music the way artists want you to, with extreme clarity, deep bass, and full power.”

Carmelo Anthony vouched for them. And he should know, especially after he downloaded more than 3,000 songs onto his iPod before coming. “You listen to the music, you feel like you’re in a studio atmosphere. It’s that quality,” he said.

I’m sure the headphones are decent enough, but “studio atmosphere” via the iPod is a tougher concept to buy into.  ‘Melo oughta spend an afternoon with these guys —- they can school him on high fidelity, and he can point out which part of “The Wire”‘s West Baltimore are more accuarate than others.