Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Dream Team and Other Almost Dream Teams

This is of course about the U.S. basketball teams to the Olympics comprised of NBA professional stars and superstars. This practice of using NBA stars started in 1992 during the Barcelona Olympics. The world by then has caught up with them in basketball. Back then, a gathering of amateur collegiate stars was enough to win the basketball gold. But not anymore, they concluded. So since 20 years ago, they dominated once again Olympics basketball, thanks to their NBA superstars.

Now comes the debate on who is the greatest dream team ever. Kobe Bryant, the Laker superstar perhaps stirred the debate when he was reported saying this year's batch could beat the original dream team of 1992. He was in my opinion, of course just kidding and perhaps just psyching them up following the non inclusion of other stars due to injuries. Missing center Dwight Howard, guard Dwayne Wade, slam dunk king Blake Griffin, Chris Bosh, would indeed make one dreaming.

In my mind, there indeed was only one dream team and this is the original dream team of the Barcelona Olympics in 1992. All and future Hall of Famers, except maybe for one. So powerful the team was that they beat their opponents by an average of 40 or so points. So complete that the substitutes was made by 5, not 1, not 2, nor 3. So devastating that in the whole tournament, Coach Chuck Daly never called a time out. Yet, despite the lopsided scores, fans overflowed the basketball stadium, not to see or expect a competition, but to see showtime. Slam dunks everywhere, pinpoint no- look passing, booming "treys", powerful and graceful drives, total paint domination. Even the opponents, starstrucked as they were, went for posses and autographs.

How about this as starting 5. Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan at guard, Larry Bird and Karl Malone at forward, and Patrick Ewing at center. The 2nd five would consist of John Stockton and Clyde Drexler at guard, Charles Barkley and Scottie Pippen at forward, and David Robinson at center. All superstars in their own positions. Sweet shooting Chris Mullin and the only amateur inserted in the team, All American No.1 amateur player Christian Laettner completed the line-up. Who can beat that?

True, most were nearing the peak of their careers. But their stars were still brightly shining in the basketball court. There is one more quality to this team which made it truly a dream team. They won the hearts and imagination of the basketball world. It cemented the frenzy that globalized basketball, a phenomenon I believed started by my idol, Michael Jordan.


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