The 1992 Dream Team is being inducted as a group into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame tonight, August 13, 2010 at Symphony Hall in Springfield, Massachusetts. Dream Team members Scottie Pippen and Karl Malone will be inducted as individuals and the 1960 US team will be inducted as a group as well.
1992 was the first year that NBA professionals were allowed to participate on the Olympic team and the US had something to prove after losing in the 1988 Olympics. They put together a team of the most elite players at the time that any basketball fan could have only dreamed of. The 1992 Dream Team is said be undeniably the greatest basketball team ever assembled.
“It was the very first time they put the NBA players together, so that was very special,” Dream Team member Larry Bird said. “The Olympics, growing up as a young kid, always dreaming, wondering what that feels like and being able to do it, it was very special, there’s no question about it.”
The US took gold that year in Barcelona, scoring an Olympic-record of 117.3 points per game and winning by an average of 43.8 per game.
Interestingly enough, fans and teams of the other countries didn’t seem to be offended or feel bullied for the way the US team swept every game. Most players were just thrilled to be playing on the same court as these basketball greats and the fans were excited to watch.
“It was the first time that people came to a game and said ‘I know the outcome, but I’m going to watch the artist perform,’” said NBA commissioner David Stern, adding the team “without question” was a catalyst for the league’s international growth.
“It was an honor to be on the Dream Team and to represent my country, but also it was really cool to start the foreign influence of the NBA,” said Charles Barkley, who led the team in scoring with 18 points per game.
“That’s one of those teams that you wish you could play with forever,” Pippen said.
The 1992 Dream Team consisted of Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Scottie Pippen, Karl Malone, Charles Barkley, David Robinson, John Stockton, Patrick Ewing, Clyde Drexler, Chris Mullin and Christian Laettner. Chuck Daly, who had a 14 year coaching career and led the Detroit Pistons to consecutive NBA Championships in 1989 and 1990, was the Dream Team’s head coach. Daly died last year from cancer.
Dream Team members Michael Jordan, Larry Bird and Magic Johnson have already been inducted into the Hall of Fame as individuals.
The 1960 US team, who will also be inducted as a group tonight, featured legends Jerry West and Oscar Robertson.