Dream Team Celebrates 25th Anniversary Of Golden Olympic Run
“You will see a team of professionals in the Olympics again. But I don’t think you’ll see another team quite like this.
This was a majestic team.”
Chuck Daly, 1992 U.S. Olympic Men’s Basketball Head Coach
Twenty-five years ago today (July 26, 1992), the legendary Dream Team took to the court for its opening game of the 1992 Barcelona Olympics versus Angola.
It was hugely anticipated, and predictably, the opening game result was a lopsided 68-point victory as the Americans easily dispatched of the African nation 116-48.
But the score of that game was the least important thing.
The Dream Team’s participation in the 1992 Summer Olympic Games forever changed the Olympics, the Olympic basketball competition, and basketball globally.
It's 25 years later and still teams across all sports are measured against this legendary group.
The Dream Team's Olympic debut marked the globalization of hoops.
In 1992, the NBA had only 23 international players. Opening night rosters to start the 2016-17 season featured 113 international players.
The Dream Team also marked the first super-team. Daly's '92 golden squad featured 11 future Hall of Famers!
MJ; "Magic"; "Larry Legend"; "Sir Charles"; "The Admiral"; "The Mailman"; Scottie Pippen; Patrick Ewing; Chris Mullin; Clyde "The Glide" Drexler; John Stockton and Christian Laettner caught the world's attention and helped create future generations of ballers.
Juan Antonio Samaranch, then president of the International Olympic Committee, stated after completition of the 1992 Olympics that "the most important aspect of the Games has been the resounding success of the basketball tournament, as we've witnessed the best basketball in the world. The Palau d'Esports de Badalona has become the mecca of this sport."
The Naismith Basketball Memorial Hall of Fame described the team as “The greatest collection of basketball talent on the planet.”
And who would argue that?
The 1992 U.S. Olympic Men’s Basketball Team was historic because it represented the first time NBA players were eligible to compete in the Olympics. How did it become possible for NBA players to play? Check out that story at https://www.usab.com/history/why-can-pros-complete-in-international-events.aspx.
In celebration of the Dream Team's 25th anniversary, USAB.com compiled a few fun facts and a gallery of photos for fans to enjoy.
DREAM TEAM FACTS:
The Dream Team cruised to the 1992 Olympic basketball gold medal, winning its eight games by an average margin 43.8 points a game. Surprisingly, that margin of victory was not a record. The Bill Russell led 1956 U.S. Olympic Team compiled a 53.5 points per game margin of victory.
During the 1992 Olympic Games, the Dream Team led opponents for 306 minutes and 54 seconds out of a possible 320 minutes. The USA actually trailed for just 6:05 and was tied for 7:01.
U.S. head coach Chuck Daly never even called a timeout during the entire Olympics.
The USA team reached the century mark in all eight games and is the only team to accomplish that feat in the Olympics.
The USA’s 117.3 point per game scoring average is the highest ever for any Olympic basketball team.
The USA largest lead in a game was 68 points coming against Angola (116-48). It’s largest deficit was four points against Spain (4-0).
For trivia fans, it was Karl Malone who scored the Dream Team’s first point in Olympic action, sinking the second of two-free throw tries against Angola just 11 seconds into the game. It was also "The Mailman" who scored the USA’s last points, hitting a jumper with 41.1 second left in the Olympic gold medal game versus Croatia.
The Dream Team was enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009 and into the United States Olympic Hall of Fame also in 2009.
Eleven of the 12 players on the U.S. roster and three of the four coaches have been elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as individuals. Christian Laettner, the one Dream Team player not yet in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, was inducted into the Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010.
Ten of the 12 U.S. players started at least one Olympic game. Michael Jordan was the only player to start in all eight games. Christian Laettner, who had just completed his collegiate career at Duke, and John Stockton, who was coming off of a broken fibula and played in just four games, did not start.
Did you know that Larry Bird’s last field goal in an official basketball game came in the Olympics with 1:20 remaining in the USA’s semifinal game versus Lithuania on Aug. 6, 1992? Bird officially retired from the NBA on Aug. 18, 1992.
Charles Barkley set a then USA Olympic game scoring record with 30 pts (12-14 FGs) in the USA's 127-83 victory over Brazil 83 on July 31.
Clyde Drexler set the USA Olympic game record for 3-point percentage by making all three of his 3-point attempts versus Spain (8/2/92).
Michael Jordan shares U.S. Olympic game record for most assists with 12 against Germany (7/29/92) and for steals with eight versus Angola (7/26/92) and Croatia (7/27/92).
The USA received credit for an assist on a remarkable 64.8 percent of its made field goals (239 assists on 369 total made field goals).
The U.S. statistical leaders were:
Points: Charles Barkley (18.0 ppg.)
Rebounds: Patrick Ewing and Karl Malone with 42 (5.2 rpg.)
Assists: Scottie Pippen with 47 (5.88 apg.)
Blocked Shots: Patrick Ewing with 15 (1.88 bpg.)
Steals: Michael Jordan with 37 (4.63 spg.)
Field Goal Percentage: Charles Barkley at 71.1 percent (59-83 FGs)
Most Made Field Goals: Charles Barkley with 59
Most Attempted Field Goals: Michael Jordan with 113
3-Point Field Goal Percentage: Charles Barkley at 87.5 percent (7-8 3pt FGs)
Most Made 3-Point Field Goals: Chris Mullin with 14
Most Attempted 3-Point Field Goals: Larry Bird with 27
Free Throw Percentage: Christian Laettner at 90.0 percent (18-20 FTs)
Most Made Free Throws: Karl Malone with 24
Most Attempted Free Throws: Karl Malone with 32
Most Minutes Played: Michael Jordan with 185 (23:13 a game)
- Larry Bird and Magic Johnson were selected as the USA co-captains.
- The first 10 members of the 1992 USA squad were announced on Saturday, Sept. 21, on a live NBC Sports special presentation. Bob Costas and Marv Albert co-hosted the one-hour special.
- The final two members of the Dream Team, Clyde Drexler and Christian Laettner, were announced on May 12, 1992.
- At the time of the 1992 Olympics, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan over the previous 13 NBA seasons had compiled 10 NBA championships, seven NBA Finals MVPs, eight regular season MVPs, six regular season scoring championships.
- The Dream Team set USA Olympic records for made field goals (369), field goal percentage (57.8%), assists (29.9 apg.), steals (22.1 spg.) and blocked shots (5.9 bpg.).