When the 1992 U.S. men's Olympic basketball team was announced, it read like a Top 10 list of some of the greatest athletes to ever play the game. The roster was adorned with the names of Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, among others, and is largely considered the greatest Team USA ever assembled.
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In fact, sports fans look to this iteration of Team USA basketball as the greatest team in all of sports. Practically guaranteed a gold medal, the majority of international competition was nowhere near the level of the Dream Team. "This was the most hyped team of all time," said Sports Illustrated's Jack McCallum, "when they finally got together, they delivered in a way that we didn't think was possible."
So when the Dream Team swept through the Olympics and thoroughly handled most teams, it was no surprise. The team was meant to epitomize that America's dominance on the world level was here to stay and it did. Reflecting on Team USA's level of dominance to ESPN, forward Charles Barkley said, "Going in we did not think we were going to win every game by 60, 70 points." He added, "when we went to the bench, that's when we always went crazy because we brought in four more All-Stars while they brought in some kids, and there was a real drop-off in level of talent."
Take for instance Jordan's response to Kobe Bryant's statement that 2012's Team USA is in fact better than the Dream Team, from ESPN:
"For him to make that comparison, it's one of those things where it creates conversation," Jordan said. "I guess we'll never know. I'd like to think that we had 11 Hall of Famers on that team, and whenever they get 11 Hall of Famers, you call and ask me who had the better Dream Team. Remember now, they learned from us. We didn't learn from them."
That's just how great of a team the Dream Team was. Due to the overwhelming talent they possessed, who could really threaten them? Well, the answer is ... themselves. In what many consider, "The Greatest Game Nobody Ever Saw," the Dream Team squared off in an ultracompetitive scrimmage that saw Jordan captain one team opposite Johnson, in a battle for not only Team USA leadership, but also the future of basketball.
"The best game I ever played in. The best game I ever played in," said Jordan to Michael Wilbon, "in the sense that you had no coaching, referees, but not really, and you had 10 Hall of Famers playing against each other, I mean how many times are you going to get that in the game of basketball?"
To see it in person must have encompassed all the feelings a sports fan desires and for the legends playing, it must have meant even more. "The way we competed, and our desire and sweat and trash talking and all the beautiful things about the game of basketball, was illustrated in that one particular game," said Jordan. He added, "If you culminate everybody in the Hall of Fame and every game they played in and you envision a game being played, that is how the game is gonna be played."