It’s been 20 years since the “USA Dream Team” made its debut in Barcelona, Spain for the 1992 Summer Olympics with the likes of Earvin “Magic” Johnson joining his friend Larry Bird and Michael Jordan as “Olympic hopefuls;” now enter the likes of rookie of the year Kyrie Irving from the Cleveland Cavaliers and New York Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin and you have the possibility of another USA Dream Team, say experts in trying to explain this somewhat complicated process to select finalists for the 2012 U.S. Olympic men’s basketball team. Also, the official website usabasketball.com featured details that famed Duke Blue Devils men’s basketball Coach Mike Krzyzewski will end his Olympics coaching career in London this summer; while Krzyzemski is remembered as an assistant coach under Chuck Daly when the 1992 U.S. men’s Olympic basketball team, nicknamed the “Dream Team,” was the first American Olympic team to feature “active NBA players.”
Dream Team remembered as new team formed
Yes, it was awesome.
Imagine facing the 1992 Olympic “Dream Team” roster of Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen of the World Champion Chicago Bulls, or John Stockton and Karl Malone of the Utah Jazz; and then there’s Magic Johnson of the Lakers, and Larry Bird of the Boston Celtics; backed by Patrick Ewing of the New York Knicks and Chris Mullin of the Golden State Warriors, with David Robinson of the San Antonio Spurs with help from Charles Barkley of the Philadelphia 76ers – no wonder it was dubbed the “Dream Team,” say fans who are hopeful today’s NBA champs dominate and bring back the gold medal as other NBA MVPs have done in the past.
And, if that wasn’t enough “Dream Team” for you, Coach Daily added Clyde Drexler of the Portland Trail Blazers, along with Christian Laettner of Duke University as “back-up” just in case the Dream Team didn’t dominate the world as expected during the 1992 Summer games.
In turn, a history of the “Dream Team” notes that “they defeated its opponents by an average of almost 44 points en route to the gold medal against Croatia in that exciting final game at the 1992 Summer Olympics held in Barcelona.
During that gold medal game, Magic Johnson – one of the best showmen ever to play basketball – threw surgical passes to his real life friend Larry Bird whose natural talent paired with his strong work ethic literally blew the Croatia team away; especially when you consider that Michael Jordan was on hand for the rebounds.
Moreover, a history of the “Dream Team” at the 1992 Olympics – featured at the official website usabasketball.com – notes how “opposing teams were overwhelmed by the talent of the American roster; with Charles Barkley earning the Dream Team’s leading scorer honors during that 1992 Olympics, averaging 18 points per game.
"It was like Elvis and the Beatles put together," remarked Chuck Daly in the official history of the 1992 Olympics; while today’s U.S. men’s basketball roster for London’s Summer Olympics is still being sorted out with the best of the best from the NBA now named.
2012 U.S. Olympic men’s basketball team not fully formed yet
After injuries eliminated four finalists from consideration for the 2012 U.S. Olympic Men’s Basketball Team, and USA Basketball’s recent addition of two players to its roster of finalists, USA Basketball Chair and Men’s National Team Managing Director Jerry Colangelo announced this week that USA Basketball has been granted a deadline extension by the U.S. Olympic Committee for selecting the USA’s 12-man roster.
“We felt that it would be in the best interest of our selection process to give ourselves more time to finalize the USA roster,” said Colangelo, who has headed the successful USA Basketball Men’s National Team since 2005. “We want to remain flexible and see how things play out during the NBA Playoffs. In addition to the unfortunate injuries suffered by four of our players, we anticipate that other finalists will advance deep into the playoffs, and we also anticipate having to consider some free agency developments. Doing it this way will give us the opportunity to look at the status of every player who is involved in our program,” added Colangelo on official website usabasketball.com.
Meanwhile, USA Basketball officials also noted that now “20 years after the USA Dream Team made its debut in Barcelona, Spain, the U.S. returns and will conclude its tour with a pair of exhibition games against FIBA’s No. 2 and No. 3 ranked world powers. Facing No. 3 ranked Argentina on July 22 (9:30 p.m. local time) at the Palau Sant Jordi in Barcelona, the USA will close out its exhibition tour against FIBA’s No. 2 ranked power Spain on July 24 (9:30 p.m. local time) at the Palau Sant Jordi. Tickets for the games in Barcelona are available at www.entradas.com/entradas/comprar-entradas-torneo-usa-espana-argentina.”
USA Basketball gearing up for Olympics
Based in Colorado Springs, Colo., USA Basketball is a nonprofit organization and the national governing body for men's and women's basketball in the United States. As the recognized governing body for basketball in the United States by the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) and the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), USA Basketball is responsible for the selection, training and fielding of USA teams that compete in FIBA sponsored international basketball competitions, as well as for some national competitions.
The official website usabasketball.com also notes that since 2008, “the USA Basketball men’s and women’s teams have compiled a sterling 134-6 win-loss record in FIBA or FIBA Americas competitions. USA teams are the current men’s and women’s champions of the Olympics and the FIBA World Championships; FIBA women’s U19 world champions; the men’s and women’s title holders for the FIBA U17 World Championships; and the men’s and women’s U18 and U16 FIBA Americas champions. USA Basketball currently ranks No. 1 in all five of FIBA's world ranking categories, including combined, men's, women's, boys and girls.”
Thus, the news from USA Basketball as of May 24 is “Rookie of the Year Kyrie Irving of Cleveland and Knicks star Jeremy Lin are among 13 NBA players chosen to scrimmage against the U.S. men's Olympic basketball team in July.”
Also picked in a USA Basketball announcement May 21 were: John Wall (Washington), Ryan Anderson (Orlando), DeMarcus Cousins (Sacramento), Paul George (Indiana), Kawhi Leonard and DeJuan Blair (San Antonio), Gordon Hayward and Derrick Favors (Utah), DeMar DeRozan (Toronto), Taj Gibson (Chicago) and Klay Thompson (Golden State).
Men’s Olympic team prepares in Vegas
USA Basketball also noted how the players “will report to Las Vegas along with the Americans on July 5 and work out against them from July 6-11. Lin's participation is unclear, as he will be a free agent after his breakout season and may not take part until he signs a new contract during that week. Former Toronto coach Jay Triano, an assistant with the U.S. 2010 world championship team, and Syracuse assistant Mike Hopkins will serve as co-coaches of the select team.”
In addition, officials explained how “the U.S. started working against select teams in 2007 before the qualifying tournament for the 2008 Olympics, and a number of players have used it as a pipeline toward the national team. Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Kevin Love, all candidates for this year's U.S. team, were once select team players.
"The USA select team was a vital part of the USA men's national team's training in 2007, 2008 and 2010, and again in 2012 we'll utilize this team of select NBA players to help get our national team ready for the very competitive summer that is ahead of us," USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo said in a May 21 statement.
Meanwhile, there speculation that “Linmania” from Jeremy Lin’s success as an NBA basketball is becoming the “player to look out for come the Summer Olympics,” said USA Team officials pointing to Lin now being a New York Nicks player who is proud of Asian American and a Chinese and Taiwanese heritage, but will wear the USA colors during this Summer’s Olympics as Lin helps lead a new American “Dream Team” looking for gold in London.
Image source of U.S. Olympic hopeful Michael Jordan stands ready while David Robinson shoots a free throw during the 1992 “Dream Team” Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Spain. Photo courtesy Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dream_Team_(basketball)