This week’s #ThrowbackThursday moment is dedicated to the 1992 Dream Team.
There’s nothing I can say that will add to the lore and eternal list of superlatives that describe the greatest team of all time of any sport.Â However, I do believe GQ’s recent oral history of the team does a fantastic job of further informing fans on the 1992 experiences and exploits of the Dream Team.
I’m sure many of you watched last night’s highly anticipated NBATV documentary on the team.Â Take what you learned from the 90 minute feature and supplement that with equally compelling anecdotes that many of the Dream Team’s key players such as Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Charles Barkley, Patrick Ewing and supporting cast members including David Stern, Marv Albert, Lenny Wilkens, Nathaniel Butler (photog) to name a few, shared with GQ.
It’s been twenty years since the Dream Team redefined one of the Olympics most popular events with their dominant play.Â And yet, fans will never tire of reading, watching, listening to some of the greats reflect on that special time in sports history.
Here are some of my favorite quotes that complete the four-page article.
On Isiah Thomas’s Dream Team snub…
David DuPree (reporter for USA Today):If they were selecting solely on ability and accomplishments, Isiah Thomas may have deserved it. But who are you going to leave off? Nobody was tougher than John Stockton; nobody was a better passer. John Stockton was a tough son of a bitch.
On Charles Barkley making the team…
On NBA Players scrimmaging against the best college players in the country…
Christian Laettner: I remember looking up and seeing my college teammates standing up there, and then the next play, Barkley thunder-dunks on Malone. Every one of them, their jaw was on the floor.
Charles Barkley (Team USA power forward):The first time we saw them, they looked like babies. We were like, “Hey, man, let’s don’t kill these little kids.” And they were playing like it was Game 7. Before we knew it, they upset us.
On how opposing teams were starstruck by the Dream Team…
Nathaniel Butler (official NBA photographer):We were sitting on the baseline. Magic is backing a guy down, and the guy on defense is yelling at his bench, “Now! Now!” And on the bench, one guy’s pulling a camera out of his sock and taking a photo of his teammate.
On scrimmaging against each other…
On the legendary matchup between TEAM USA and ANGOLA…
Herlander Coimbra (Team Angola):We felt like we were the luckiest guys in the world. We were going to play against the best, but also against African-Americansâ€”our little cousins from America. During warm-ups we tried spectacular dunks to show them that we could play like in the NBA. They didn’t dunk even once. They were really serious, all business. To keep our hopes up, our coach told us that only Larry Bird and Michael Jordan were really, really goodâ€”that the other Dream Teamers were just okay. But those guys were on another levelâ€”a galaxy far, far away. We tried to do our best, but our emotion got the better of us.
Charles Barkley: They were playing a little chippy, and I warned him a couple of times. I thought he was getting away with a couple of little cheap shots.
Lenny Wilkens: We thought it was amusing, but Charles was not going to let him get away with it. He chased him the whole way down the court.
Coimbra: I was listening to my coach on the sideline when suddenly Barkley elbowed me in the chest.
Barkley: Well, he should have been paying attention.
Coimbra: After the game, all the journalists wanted to talk to me about the incident. They wanted to know why. Did I say anything to provoke Barkley? I told them I didn’t do anything. For the next days, that’s all the press wanted to talk about. It became so crazy that I had to say in a statement that we only came here to show how good we were. We didn’t want to feed the rumors. But between us, we talked about it. We were not really surprised that Barkley did that, because he was known to be a dirty player.
But trust me, these handpicked blurbs don’t begin to scratch the surface of all the nuggets hidden within the GQ article.Â The article is lengthy, but you owe it to yourself to find time to read it in its entirety.Â Do it. Now.
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