The early 1990s - the era of Nirvana, the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, good Saturday morning cartoons...
And the Dream Team. Quite appropriately, with this being an Olympic year and the 20th anniversary of the star-studded team taking home the gold from Barcelona, NBA TV aired a documentary - titled simply The Dream Team - on the greatest collection of basketball talent ever on one team.
Everyone seems to remember the Dream Team as Michael, Magic, Larry, Sir Charles and others being thrown together to restore American dominance in basketball. Well, not exactly. Perhaps being young at the time, I had no idea how the Dream Team concept saw the light of day. I had thought it was totally USA Basketball's idea to send NBA players to the Olympics.
But the documentary touched on the fact it was the high ranking FIBA official Borislav Stanković who enabled the Dream Team concept to become a reality by issuing a resolution to allow pro basketball players from all nations to compete in the Olympics.
Eventually, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird were the first players to express enthusiasm about the playing in Barcelona, which motivated an initially reluctant Michael Jordan to take part.
While certainly the Dream Team would have been incomplete without his Airness, there was another NBA superstar who should have been part of the fun, Isiah Thomas. It was common knowledge that Michael Jordan (among others) didn't want Zeke on the team.
The documentary addressed a possible reason why Thomas wasn't in Barcelona; the behavior of he and his teammates after the 1991 Eastern Conference Finals, when the Pistons walked off the bench rather than congratulate the Chicago Bulls.
Although the Isiah issue was addressed, one controversy that erupted in Barcelona was ignored in the documentary. During the Olympics, Jordan and Charles Barkley had vocally expressed displeasure about having to wear a Reebok outfit on the medal stand.
The mostly Nike endorsers on the Dream Team pulled back their collars on the medal to conceal the Reebok logo on their jackets. The medal ceremony outfit sparked a much bigger controversy than whether the Dream Team was too dominant in Barcelona.
The documentary did a great job of telling viewers aspects of the Dream Team's summer they might have been unaware of, or had forgotten. Such as the fact this collection of 11 future Hall of Famers lost to of a group of college kids in a scrimmage and despite being viewed as kings in Barcelona, John Stockton could walk incognito in the streets of the city.
The Dream Team was nice trip back down memory lane to when MJ was still flying through the sky and when Charles Barkley was serving up memorable quotes. Oh, I forgot - the latter hasn't changed a bit.
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