The Dream Team is a term that’s generally used to describe the 1992 United States men’s Olympic Basketball team. How good were they? Well, let’s just say that during the 1992 summer games they defeated their opponents by an average of 44 points a game. That my friends, is what's known as a good old fashioned ass kicking.
The Dream Begins
Before we get started we have to go back to the 1988 summer games that were held in Seoul South Korea. Back in those days pros were excluded from the Olympic roster and the team consisted of the best players from the college ranks. After the U.S finished in third place and took home the bronze some changes were in order.
Starting in 1989 the powers that be opened up basketball to professionals players on a world wide basis. At first the NBA was reluctant to sign on to the idea but after some pushing and prodding from league officials they finally relented and a team was announced for the 1992 games that almost ensured that the United States would bring back the gold.
The Dream Players
For those of you familiar with the NBA you’re sure to recognize this list of names. Each one of them would go on to make the NBA Hall of Fame with one exception. We’ll get to that later.
Chuck Daly – Head Coach – Detroit Pistons
David Robinson – Center – San Antonio Spurs
Patrick Ewing – Center – New York Knicks
Larry Bird – Forward – Boston Celtics
Scottie Pippen – Forward – Chicago Bulls
Michael Jordan – Guard – Chicago Bulls
Clyde Drexler – Guard - Portland Trail Blazers
Karl Malone – Forward – Utah Jazz
John Stockton – Guard – Utah Jazz
Chris Mullen – Forward – Golden State Warriors
Charles Barkley – Forward – Phoenix Suns
Magic Johnson –Guard – Los Angeles Lakers
It was also decided that one player from the college ranks would be selected to make the trip. The player that was ultimately chosen was one Christian Laettner from Duke University. He’s the only one on the list that didn’t make the NBA Hall of Fame. Ironically, he was chosen over one Shaquille O’Neal who would go on to have a stellar career in the NBA and make the hall.
The Dream Season
After some initial practices and scrimmages the team hit the road to play in a pre-Olympic tourney known as the Tournament of the Americas. After looking at these scores, I’m guessing it wasn’t as much of a tournament as it was a pageant to showcase the teams’ talents.
Game 1 – USA 136, Angola
Game 2 – USA 105, Canada
Game 3 - USA 112, Panama
Game 4 – USA 128, Argentina
Game 5 - USA 119, Puerto Rico
Game 6 - USA 127, Venezuela
From there it was off to the Olympic Games in Barcelona, Spain. The outcome was never in doubt.
Game 1 - USA 116, Angola 48
Game 2 – USA 103, Croatia
Game 3 – USA 111, Germany
Game 4 – USA 127, Brazil
Game 5 – USA 122, Spain
Game 6 – USA 115, Puerto Rico
Game 7 – USA 127, Lithuania
Game 8 – USA 117, Croatia
The USA took home the gold and there was much rejoicing throughout the land.
The Dream Continues?
With the 2012 games getting ready to start in London, England Kobe Bryant raised some eyebrows when he stated the team selected for this years games would have beaten the original Dream Team. I kinda doubt it and to quote the best basketball player I’ve ever seen play the game here’s what Michael Jordan had to say in response.
”For him to compare those two teams is not one of the smarter things he ever could have done”
Amen Michael, amen.