Dream Team Still Defines Olympic Greatness
USA Basketball's best-ever squad turns 20 this year.
By: Patrick Snow | 7/26/12, 5:58 AM EDT
Eleven future Hall of Famers — Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Charles Barkley, Karl Malone, John Stockton, Scottie Pippen, Patrick Ewing, David Robinson, Chris Mullin and Clyde Drexler — and one college kid, Duke’s Christian Laettner, changed the game of basketball forever with a once-in-a-lifetime, whirlwind tour during the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, Spain. “It was like Elvis and the Beatles put together,” said Dream Team head coach Chuck Daly. “Traveling with the Dream Team was like traveling with 12 rock stars. That’s all I can compare it to.”
Arguably the greatest group ever assembled in the history of team sports, the Dream Team posted a perfect 8–0 record, winning by an average margin of 43.8 points en route to recapturing the gold medal — which Team USA was unable to win in 1988 — with a 117–85 victory over Croatia.
But the Dream Team did much more than just run full-court layup lines on offense, suffocate comically overmatched opponents on defense (.365 field goal percentage) and sign autographs for anyone with a pen. Jordan’s breakaway dunks, Magic’s passes and Bird’s 3-point marksmanship inspired a new generation, forever changing who and where basketball was to be played.
On the 20th anniversary of the 1992 Olympics, it is safe to say that the Dream Team made basketball a truly global game.
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