On July 25, 1992, the Dream Teamthe first American national team made up of professional NBA players to compete in the Olympics, began the journey to show where the best basketball players in the world were and ended with gold in Barcelona ’92, which took the painful loss of the USSR in Seoul in 1988, when the American team had to settle for bronze.
This team is considered the best of all time in world basketball, as he managed to bring together the best players available in the world, in a meeting of two generations which, at the end of the Olympic tournament, swept an 8-0 record and an average margin of victory of more than 40 points.
Over the years it has become known as the road to form the one and only “Dream Team” was not easy, as it featured a long series of negotiations and a terrible battle of egos that was on the verge of collapse before the tournament started.
An example of this was a historic training session that took place on July 22, 1992, in which the two teams of the USA team competed: the new generation of great players led by Michael Jordan and the legends of the 80s who had to give up their place, led by Earvin “Magic” Johnson and Larry Bird.
The NBA game of the century
On July 21, the future Dream Team easily beat France 111-71 in their last warm-up match, but the team’s performance failed to convince coach Chuck Daly and as a result he thought to pit his players against each other in a game where their NBA rivalries could surface.
The match (no training) took place the following day at the Louis II stadium in the Principality of Monaco. It took place over four quarters, with referees present and a single journalist, Jack McCallum, who wrote a book about the game. Additionally, a recording was made and released to the press many years later, when the Dream Team had already achieved their goal.
John Stockton of the Utah Jazz sat out the game due to injury. The captains were the two main figures of the team: MJ and “Magic” Johnson. Everyone has chosen their frame:
The Jordan team:
Scottie Pippen, Larry Bird, Karl Malone and Patrick Ewing.
Chris Mullin, Charles Barkley, David Robinson and Clyde Drexlerwhile NCAA star Christian Laettner played on that side, but they really didn’t think about the rest of the players.
Coach Daly’s instruction was simple, “I want everything you have.”
Testimonials from the historic game:
Years later, Michael Jordan admitted:
“It was the best game I’ve ever played. No coaches, although there was a referee who barely whistled. You had ten “Hall of Famers” playing against each other showing their maximum competitiveness, their desire to win, their resistance to foul language, all the beautiful things about the game were reflected in one game”, says Michael Jordan.
Then, “Magic” asked for the ball from Clyde Drexler and took advantage of the affront:
“Michael went and got everybody and said, ‘That’s what I’m going to do to you,’ and he unleashed a long shot on that amazing airborne and…. It’s okay!” after which Michael exclaimed “What did I tell you?” “Magic” Johnson.
Next, “Barkley said, ‘I want to go get Karl Malone now,’ it hovered in the air and… The shot was good!’ and then I said, ‘Oh, Karl, you better give it back,'” the Lakers star explained.
Malone took the ball and made the basket, while challenging his opponent, “You are nothing, Barkley, you are nothing.”
“MJ’s energy was really high. He saw the opportunity to prove himself and said, ‘Look, I’m still better than ‘Magic’ Johnson. and I’m still dominating this game,” said ‘Magic’ Johnson
For his part, Scottie Pippen, his squire with the Chicago Bulls recalled, “Michael had that look and you know when you see him you gotta give him the ball and step aside. ‘Magic’ refused to give up his place as the most dominant in the league, Jordan played to show everyone he was king.”
Due to the intensity of the game, Daly wanted to end the match, but the trailing “Magic” team resisted. Eventually, Jordan’s team won and after that game, a new era of professional basketball was born, where MJ became the greatest figure of all time in world basketball.