1992 United States men's Olympic basketball team

David Robinson shoots a free throw.

The 1992 United States men's Olympic basketball team, nicknamed the "Dream Team", was the first American Olympic team to feature active NBA players. Often considered one of the strongest teams assembled in any sport, it defeated its opponents by an average of almost 44 points en route to the gold medal against Croatia at the 1992 Summer Olympics held in Barcelona.[1] Chuck Daly served as coach, assisted by Lenny Wilkens, P. J. Carlesimo, and Mike Krzyzewski.[2]

Contents

Forming the team

At the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, the United States national basketball team, made up of college stars, finished in a disappointing third place.[3] After FIBA opened the Olympics to professional players in April 1989, USA Basketball began looking to the NBA to supply players for its 1992 Olympic roster.[4] The first ten players for the Dream Team were officially selected on September 21, 1991: Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen of the Chicago Bulls, John Stockton and Karl Malone of the Utah Jazz, Magic Johnson of the Los Angeles Lakers, Larry Bird of the Boston Celtics, Patrick Ewing of the New York Knicks, Chris Mullin of the Golden State Warriors, David Robinson of the San Antonio Spurs, and Charles Barkley of the Philadelphia 76ers (later traded to the Phoenix Suns).[5] David Robinson had played with the 1988 Olympic team, and was especially eager to earn a gold medal at Barcelona.[3]

Clyde Drexler of the Portland Trail Blazers was added to the team on May 12, 1992, along with Christian Laettner of Duke University. Laettner was the only player selected for the national team without any professional experience, and beat out Louisiana State University's Shaquille O'Neal for the final spot on the roster.[6]

Success on the court

Tournament of the Americas

The Dream Team made its debut on June 28, 1992, at the Tournament of the Americas, an Olympic qualifying event in Portland, Oregon. The team defeated Cuba 136–57, prompting Cuban coach Miguel Calderón Gómez to say, "You can't cover the sun with your finger."[7] The next five games were also easy victories for Team USA, who ended the tournament on July 5, 1992, with a 127–80 victory over Venezuela.[8]

Olympics

At the Olympics, opposing teams were overwhelmed by the talent of the American roster, losing by an average of 43.8 points per game.[9] The closest of the eight matches was Team USA's 117–85 victory in the gold medal game against Croatia.[10] Charles Barkley was the Dream Team's leading scorer during the Olympics, averaging 18.0 points per game.[11]

Fans in Barcelona greeted the Dream Team with great enthusiasm. Fans gathered outside the team's hotel, hoping to see their favorite players. "It was like Elvis and the Beatles put together," remarked Chuck Daly.[12] Opposing basketball players and athletes from other sports often asked to have photographs taken with the players.[13] Barkley noted, however, in a 2010 interview, that there was a dark side to the Dream Team's fame:

And what people don't understand, we got death threats. In our hotel, you had to have a picture ID to get in there, and we went to the pool on the roof of the hotel, there was like 10 guys standing around with Uzis. So it was kind of funny, it was like: Girl in bikini; dude with an Uzi; girl in bikini; guy with Uzi. People thought we didn't want to stay in the Olympic Village because we wanted to be big shots, but it was because we were getting death threats. They had told us this would be considered great by one of these terrorist groups if they could take out the Dream Team.[11]

Legacy

The "Dream Team" is regarded by many as the greatest basketball team ever assembled. The team was elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010, and is one of only eight teams enshrined in the Hall of Fame.[14] In addition, as of 2011 eleven of the twelve players on the roster (all but Laettner) and three of the four coaches (all but Carlesimo) have been elected to the Hall of Fame as individuals.

Roster

USA National Basketball Team rosterv · d · e
Players Coaches
Pos. # Name Height Weight DOB (Y–M–D) From
PF 4 United States Laettner, Christian 6 ft 11 in (2.11 m) 235 lb (107 kg) Duke
C 5 United States Robinson, David 7 ft 1 in (2.16 m) 235 lb (107 kg) San Antonio Spurs
C 6 United States Ewing, Patrick 7 ft 0 in (2.13 m) 240 lb (109 kg) New York Knicks
SF 7 United States Bird, Larry 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m) 220 lb (100 kg) Boston Celtics
SF 8 United States Pippen, Scottie 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m) 210 lb (95 kg) Chicago Bulls
SG 9 United States Jordan, Michael 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) 200 lb (91 kg) Chicago Bulls
SG 10 United States Drexler, Clyde 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m) 220 lb (100 kg) Portland Trail Blazers
PF 11 United States Malone, Karl 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m) 255 lb (116 kg) Utah Jazz
PG 12 United States Stockton, John 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m) 175 lb (79 kg) Utah Jazz
SF 13 United States Mullin, Chris 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m) 215 lb (98 kg) Golden State Warriors
PF 14 United States Barkley, Charles 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) 250 lb (113 kg) Phoenix Suns
PG 15 United States Johnson, Magic 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m) 220 lb (100 kg) Los Angeles Lakers
Head coach
Assistant coach(es)

Legend
  • From describes teams affiliated
    during the Olympics

Olympics results

Game Point for USA Point for opponent Opponent Point differential
1 116 48 Angola +68
2 103 70 Croatia +33
3 111 68 Germany +43
4 127 83 Brazil +44
5 122 81 Spain +41
6 115 77 Puerto Rico +38
7 127 76 Lithuania +51
8 117 85 Croatia (Gold medal match) +32
Source: [2]

Statistics

Player GP GS FGM FGA FG% 3PM 3PA 3P% FTM FTA FT% PPG RPG APG
Barkley, CharlesCharles Barkley 8 4 59 83 .711 7 8 .875 19 26 .731 18.0 4.1 2.4
Bird, LarryLarry Bird 8 3 25 48 .521 9 27 .333 8 10 .800 8.4 3.8 1.8
Drexler, ClydeClyde Drexler 8 3 37 64 .578 6 21 .286 4 10 .400 10.5 3.0 3.6
Ewing, PatrickPatrick Ewing 8 4 33 53 .623 0 0 .000 10 16 .625 9.5 5.3 0.4
Johnson, MagicMagic Johnson 6 5 17 30 .567 6 13 .462 8 10 .800 8.0 2.3 5.5
Jordan, MichaelMichael Jordan 8 8 51 113 .451 4 19 .211 13 19 .684 14.9 2.4 4.8
Laettner, ChristianChristian Laettner 8 0 9 20 .450 2 6 .333 18 20 .900 4.8 2.5 0.4
Malone, KarlKarl Malone 8 4 40 62 .645 0 0 .000 24 32 .750 13.0 5.3 1.1
Mullin, ChrisChris Mullin 8 2 39 63 .619 14 26 .538 11 14 .786 12.9 1.6 3.6
Pippen, ScottieScottie Pippen 8 3 28 47 .596 5 13 .385 11 15 .733 9.0 2.1 5.9
Robinson, DavidDavid Robinson 8 4 27 47 .574 0 0 .000 18 26 .692 9.0 4.1 0.9
Stockton, JohnJohn Stockton 4 0 4 8 .500 1 2 .500 2 3 .667 2.8 0.3 2.0

See also

References

  1. ^ The Original Dream Team. nba.com. Retrieved on August 12, 2010.
  2. ^ a b Games of the XXVth Olympiad – 1992. usabasketball.com. Retrieved on August 12, 2010.
  3. ^ a b Tim Povtak. "Robinson is riveted on gold". Orlando Sentinel. June 30, 1992. Retrieved on August 13, 2010.
  4. ^ Jack McCallum. "Lords Of The Rings". Sports Illustrated. February 18, 1991. Retrieved on August 12, 2010.
  5. ^ Sam Smith. "Olympian Jordan: 'We'll kill 'em'". Chicago Tribune. September 22, 1991. 13.
  6. ^ "Drexler, Laettner join Olympic team". Reading Eagle. May 13, 1992. Retrieved on August 12, 2010.
  7. ^ Tim Povtak. "Dream Team dazzles in laugher". Orlando Sentinel. June 29, 1992. Retrieved on August 13, 2010.
  8. ^ "From Rip City to Barcelona". Associated Press. Toldeo Blade. July 6, 1992. Retrieved on August 13, 2010.
  9. ^ "Nightmare is over for U.S." Reading Eagle. August 9, 1992. Retrieved on August 14, 2010.
  10. ^ Steve Luhm. "Reflecting on the Dream Team". Salt Lake Tribune. August 12, 2010. Retrieved on August 14, 2010.
  11. ^ a b Sheridan, Chris (August 13, 2010). "Charles Barkley relives Dream Team". ESPN.com. http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/halloffame10/columns/story?columnist=sheridan_chris&page=100812-dreamteam. Retrieved August 15, 2010. 
  12. ^ Alex Sachare. When Seconds Count. Sports Publishing LLC, 1999. 192. ISBN 1-58382-015-9.
  13. ^ Bryan Burwell. At the Buzzer! Doubleday, 2001. 150. ISBN 0-385-50145-5.
  14. ^ 1992 Olympic champs into Hall of Fame. Associated Press. ESPN. August 3, 2010. Retrieved on August 12, 2010.

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