From the moment that it was assembled, the 1992 Olympic basketball Dream Team was a sight to behold. It was an intimidating squad from top to bottom, and fans were fairly certain that this team would truly dominate the Olympics. There were those that wondered if a team of all-stars could be effective against international teams that had in some cases played together for years. However, in the end the Dream Team showed that the world was no match for them as they celebrated with a gold medal on the podium. With that in mind, here are a few reasons that the 1992 Dream Team was the best basketball squad of all time.
Comparing historical eras in sports is a difficult exercise, particularly since the game and other external factors can change so much over time. That said, the 1980s to mid-1990s are seen by many basketball fans as a high point in NBA history. If anything, the NBA was at its peak during the vaunted Lakers-Celtics rivalry and the dominance of Michael Jordan’s Bulls. When it was announced in 1989 that professional players could play in the Olympics, the stage was set for a truly epic roster.
Some of the best
The Dream Team had amazing individual players, but it also had athletes who knew how to win as a group. What defined this squad was that they were largely unselfish in their play. Obviously the squad had some huge egos, and there were almost certainly moments that individuals may have wanted more of the spotlight. However, the team was able to dominate so decisively that the players were probably having too much fun to worry about scoring opportunities, playing time, and highlight plays. In 2010, the team was added to the Basketball Hall of Fame, and 10 of the 12 players are individual entrants into the Hall.
Filling all the positions
In terms of positions, the Dream Team had it all. John Stockton and Magic Johnson are regarded as two of the greatest point guards of all time. Michael Jordan is believed by many to be the greatest player of all time, and he was backed up by Clyde Drexler who is another Hall of Fame player. At small forward, Scottie Pippen and Larry Bird had different strengths, but neither could ever be taken lightly by an opponent. Charles Barkley and Karl Malone provided an inside presence that was nearly impossible to defend. Finally, at center the Dream Team was able to put David Robinson and Patrick Ewing on the floor. Add in Chris Mullin, who was one of the best shooters of his time, and Christian Laettner who was coming off a fabulous college season, and fans were able to watch a team for the ages.
On paper, the Dream Team was an amazing basketball creation. On the floor, they were even better. The Dream Team won eight games in the Olympics, beating their opponents by an average of almost 44 points. This included a 116-48 pounding of Angola, a 111-68 rout of Germany, and a 127-76 defeat of Lithuania. The dominant run was culminated by a 117-85 win in the gold medal game over Croatia. If anything, the only disappointment with the Dream Team is that fans only got to see them play eight games together. Fans could only imagine what this team could do with an entire season of professional basketball.