“The Dream Team” mostly lived up to its hype – an inside look at the 1992 U.S.A. Olympic basketball team no one had seen before. The intensity of inter-squad scrimmages and the fame and popularity of the players in Barcelona and their ability to dominate opponents all came across with ease. But the real achievement of this documentary stemmed from the details. From the beginning, rivalries dominated practice. Jordan against Magic, Jordan against Drexler, Barkley against Malone, Ewing against Robinson, etc. At one point in practice, Barkley threw down a vicious dunk on Malone. Christian Laettner, two-time NCAA champion and the lone college player on team, narrated the event and, in that moment, essentially conceded that he had no place on the team whatsoever. But that didn’t stop him from enjoying the ride. But this was still Jordan’s show, and Scottie Pippen recalled one instance where Jordan decided it was his time to shine: “You see that look and you get him the damn ball and get out of the way.” … Then it came time for the first scrimmage against college all-stars. We already knew that the college stars took out the Dream Team in its first official scrimmage, but, as Mike Krzyzewski noted, that defeat was scripted by head coach Chuck Daly. Michael Jordan played limited minutes and Daly made no adjustments and offered up few words of encouragement. Even though the Dream Team steamrolled every opponent in Barcelona, Daly, without informing his assistants, orchestrated the loss before official competition to remind them of one thing: any team at any time can lose. And, from that moment on, as multiple players conceded, they were prepared to play night in and night out. But Daly didn’t want to feed the media beast by publicly announcing the loss, so he ordered the scoreboard to be erased before media members were allowed in the gym … Arriving in Monte Carlo for some final pre-Olympic burn, nearly every player admitted that basketball wasn’t the only thing on their minds. Scottie Pippen and Charles Barkley confessed to post-practice beach trips nearly every day – topless beaches, that is. And it was at this point that Barkley (whose music choices we love, by the way), who really was the social star of the 1992 Olympics and, as always, the most candid on-camera, complained about Larry Bird’s drinking habits. Larry prefers Budweiser, which Chuck describes as the heaviest beer ever. Clearly Chuck has an unrefined palate, but we’ll let that one go. More noteworthy were the aftereffects of the Bird-Barkley drinking extravaganza – “my head hurt for like two days,” Barkley sheepishly admitted … Daly’s coaching genius was on display once again with the practice schedule. Remember that the Bulls-Pistons rivalry was just coming down from its height at this time – Daly was throwing everything and anything at Jordan, legal or illegal, to shut him down. So it wouldn’t have been any surprise had there been a contentious relationship between the two. But the puppetmaster Daly took care of any possible squabbling by planning golf outings with Jordan – and, to take the cake, modifying the team practice schedule around such outings to solidify his relationship with the team’s undisputed star … All in all, it was an hour and a half well spent. So really, if you didn’t see the documentary, you missed out. Check it out as soon as possible … Speaking of semi-related news, Karl Malone was on the Dan Patrick Show yesterday and said if he was building a team, he would take Scottie over Michael. Malone tried to justify it by saying Pippen led the team in every single category when Michael retired/was banned from the league the first time. Damn Karl, we didn’t know you were so salty … We’re out like David Stern.
Follow Dime Magazine on Twitter
Become a fan of Dime Magazine on Facebook