Once upon a time, a team made up of some of the greatest basketball players in the history of the game was assembled to compete for the USA in the 1992 Summer Olympic Games. And that team, comprising the likes of Jordan, Ewing, Bird, Magic, Malone, Robinson, Barkley etc, was given a team of college all-stars to scrimmage against.
Except the scrimmage didn’t go as planned – because the college kids (Webber, Hardaway, Houston et al) decided to play their idols like it was the end of the world. This game, which was supposed to have been a routine practice, has since become a legend and a piece of basketball lore that will never be forgotten.
In GQ’s oral history of the 1992 Dream Team, they’ve got an this amazing recap of perhaps the greatest basketball story ever told…
The first scrimmage between the Dream Team and the college all-stars, on June 24, has become legendary, for unlikely reasons.
Miller: Coach Daly told the college team coaches he wanted them to play like international players, so when they got near the three-point line, just jack it.
Houston: We were asked to play a style that they hadn’t really seen a lot of yet. We figured we had nothing to lose. So we go in there, and Penny gets a couple dunks. I remember hitting a couple of shots. Everybody’s kind of flowing.
Penny Hardaway (college squad player): They just thought, “Okay, they got these young guys to give us a little warm-up. We’re going to beat them up a little bit, sign a couple autographs, and then everybody go on about their merry way.” They didn’t know how talented we really were.
Brian McIntyre (NBA vice president of public relations): Penny had a couple of steals at midcourt, and everyone was going, “Whoa.” There was—I can still feel it—there was tension. First day!
Charles Barkley (Team USA power forward): The first time we saw them, they looked like babies. We were like, “Hey, man, let’s don’t kill these little kids.” And they were playing like it was Game 7. Before we knew it, they upset us.
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