Revisiting the greatest basketball team in history


With the recent passing of Bill Russell, the basketball world has taken some time to reflect on how far the sport has come in the NBA’s 75-year history (along with all the legends that shaped it). A significant chapter in that same story unfolded 30 years ago today when the United States men’s basketball “Dream Team” dominated the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. The world was in awe when they discovered these icons and witnessed what was potentially the best basketball ever played.

Before we dive into the impact the Dream Team would ultimately have, it’s worth mentioning how massive the preparation was. For some context, you had Michael Jordan playing at the absolute peak of performance in the background, while in the foreground was the shocking revelation surrounding Magic Johnson’s HIV diagnosis.


After being forced into an early retirement from the Los Angeles Lakers, Johnson was credited with forming the Dream Team when he called rivals Larry Bird and Michael Jordan, and persuaded them to join him on what would be his “last hurray”. ”

RELATED: How Magic Johnson Missed $7 Billion By Turning Down Nike

As well as being vital in breaking down the stigma of HIV, it was also a moment of passing the torch. MJ had officially arrived. As the always competitive Jordan himself said:

“He wanted to prove he was back…I wanted to prove to him that there were new kids in the neighborhood.”

Even aside from that three-headed monster, the list was absolutely stacked. You had:

  • Michael Jordan
  • Magic Johnson
  • Larry Bird
  • John Stockton
  • Patrick Ewing
  • Karl Malone
  • Scottie Pippen
  • Charles Barkley
  • Clyde Drexler
  • david robinson
  • Chris Mullin

Between those men were 117 All-Star selections, 15 MVPs and 23 NBA championships. 11 of the players and three of the coaches are in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame individually, but the team itself was collectively inducted into the US Olympic Hall of Fame in 2009, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010, and FIBA Lobby. of fame in 2017.

Charles Barkley led the team in scoring with 18 per game, Scottie Pippen led the team in assists with 5.9 per game, while Karl Malone and Patrick Ewing tied for the most rebounds per game with 5 .3 each. The team went a perfect 8-0 in their games, beating every team by an average margin of 44 points and ultimately winning the gold medal.

You know what was the craziest part of it all? It could have Actually been even better. Isiah Thomas, Shaquille O’Neill, Dominique Wilkens, James Worthy, Larry Johnson, Tim Hardaway, Reggie Miller and even Dennis Rodman all had very valid claims to be on this same ground around 1992.

Many also consider the United States’ “Redeem Team” from the 2008 Olympics – which included Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade among other incredible names – as a candidate for the most talented team of all time. But it’s hard to say that with certainty. What we know for sure is this: America’s tradition of building a crazy team, dominating countries without running water, and then taking pictures with opposition fans – it all started with Magic Johnson composing Larry Bird and Michael Jordan.

The Dream Team is also a particularly evocative name, as it is widely cited as the inspiration behind many international players pursuing a career in the NBA in the first place. At the start of the 1991-92 season, there were 23 international players from 18 countries on NBA rosters. At the start of the 2021-22 season, 109 international players from 39 countries were on the league rosters. Fun fact, the last four MVPs and four of the last five DPOYs have been won by players born outside the United States. It’s safe to say that basketball really is an international game these days.

Relive basketball at its best below.