This article was written by Justin Brisson based on reporting from The Associated Press.
It might not be the very end, but it would be a fitting end.
Michael Phelps, the most-decorated Olympian ever who claims the 2012 London Games will be the last Olympics of his career, went out the only way he knows how — with a gold medal.
Phelps, with the help of U.S. teammates Matt Grevers, Brendan Hansen and Nathan Adrian, won the 4x100-meter medley relay Saturday. The win gave Phelps his 18th gold and his 22nd overall medal, continuing to push him ahead of every other Olympian in history.
Although Phelps' story is now over in London, he is not the only U.S. athlete attracting headlines.
On Saturday, the men's basketball team squeaked out a win against Lithuania, Missy Franklin and the women's medley relay team set a world record, Serena Williams completed a career Golden Slam and U.S. runners took to the track for their first finals in London.
Close call for U.S. basketball
Trailing by two with under six minutes to play, LeBron James and the U.S. men's basketball team said enough is enough.
James scored 9 of his 20 points in the final four minutes, helping the U.S. go on a 15-4 run that propelled the team past Lithuania for a 99-94 win.
"It was like LeBron said, 'I got this, I'm doing this,' " U.S. coach Mike Krzyzewski said.
The narrow victory came one game after the U.S. trounced Nigeria 156-73, setting an Olympic record in the process for the largest margin of victory. Clearly, the Americans entered the game with inflated confidence, and Lithuania did a good job of reminding them they were playing in the Olympics.
James, for one, was glad the team was given a wake-up call.
"You want to get tested," James said. "The best teams want to be tested. We love the competition. We've got some of the greatest competitors in our league, in this world, so you want to have a game where you feel like you were tested, and we had that today."
The win, however difficult it was, makes the U.S. 4-0 in these Olympics. The team's final preliminary round game is Monday against Argentina.
Another swimming record
The team, which included 17-year-old Missy Franklin, Rebecca Soni, Dana Vollmer and Allison Schmitt, finished in 3 minutes and 52.05 seconds — 0.14 seconds under the previous world record set by China in the 2009 world championships.
Franklin finished her London Games with four gold medals and one bronze.
A Golden stay
At Centre Court, the site at which Serena Williams won her fifth career Wimbledon title in July, Williams defeated Maria Sharapova 6-0, 6-1 to complete a career Golden Slam.
A Golden Slam includes winning all four major events — the French Open, the U.S. Open, Wimbledon and the Australian Open – as well as winning an Olympic gold medal. Williams joins Steffi Graf as the only female tennis players to win a career Golden Slam.
"Growing up watching her, I always liked her," Williams said, according to AP. "Having a chance to be mentioned in the same name — I always thought, 'OK, one person I'll never be mentioned in the same name is Steffi Graf. She's done everything.' "
Williams thoroughly dominated the London Olympics tennis, only losing 17 games in the whole tournament. Sharapova struggled to compete with Williams' strong serve all match. Williams capped off the win with her 60th ace of the tournament.
She is the first Olympian to have won a Golden Slam in both singles and doubles matches.
U.S. track team gets started on right foot
In the women's 100-meter sprint, Carmelita Jeter finished second place for the U.S. by 0.03 seconds. Defending Olympic champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce won gold for the Jamaicans, who swept the podium in Beijing for the 100-meter finals.
Jeter, the States' best hope for a gold medal in the 100 in years, ran a solid race to come up with the silver medal. She was the top qualifier for the event and bettered her own time in the finals, but Fraser-Pryce ran the fastest time of 2012 in 10.75 seconds.
After Saturday's 25 medal events, the U.S. team leads China in gold and total medals.
What to watch
Saturday marked only the halfway point for the Summer Olympics. Even though the 2012 London Games have already been packed with great storylines, there are plenty more promising events.
On Sunday, Roger Federer will try to complete his own career Golden Slam when he faces Andy Murray of Britain in the men's tennis final.
Serena and her sister Venus Williams will compete in the women's doubles final against Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka of the Czech Republic.
On the track, U.S. runner Sanya Richards-Ross will try to win gold in the women's 400-meter final and superstar sprinter Usain Bolt will run against Jamaican teammates Asafa Powell and Yohan Blake, and Americans Justin Gatlin and Tyson Gay in the much-anticipated men's 100-meter.
Visit NBC.com for the full schedule of Olympic events Sunday.
Find complete coverage of the London 2012 Summer Olympics from The Associated Press at http://summergames.ap.org/columbiamissourian.
Supervising editor is Frank Russell.