We remember the original Dream Team — the pros sent to the 1992 Barcelona Olympics including Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Charles Barkley and others — just rolling teams. The won the Olympic gold medal by an average of nearly 20 points a game and had the opposing teams asking for autographs afterward.
But a new documentary about the 20th anniversary of that team (to air on NBA TV June 13) also talks about and has footage of the game they lost.
It wasn’t a game so much as a scrimmage in La Jolla, Calif., against a group of college stars featuring Grant Hill, Chris Webber and Bobby Hurley, among others. The footage shows the speedy little point guard Hurley slicing into the teeth of the USA defense and carving the dream team up pretty good. However, USA head coach Chuck Daly had the scoreboard turned off before reporters were allowed in the gym.
Current Team USA head coach Mike Krzyzewski said he thinks Daly threw the game with a purpose. From the AP:
“He threw the game. You know, Chuck threw the game,” Krzyzewski, then a U.S. assistant and the current head coach, said on the documentary. “If you look how much Jordan played and how he subbed guys in, not picking up, not making any adjustments, he knew what he was doing.”
The reason — to let the Dream Team know they could be beaten. To let them know they were not invincible. But Daly would have had to throw it because no other team on the planet at that time could have beaten the dream team. They were as invincible as a team may ever have been.
I wouldn’t be nearly as confident that the Team USA heading to London this summer, 20 years later, will be as invincible. Thanks in part to the worldwide phenomenon of the Dream Team, the rest of the world is starting to catch up to us in basketball.
Bird denies report he is “100% percent” not returning to Pacers
“Once again, no decision has been made,” Bird said by phone Thursday evening. “I’ll sit down with my owner at the end of the season and we’ll talk about things.”
As I said below, he’s not expected to return and the people around him clearly think he’s gone, but with the Pacers entering the playoffs Bird wants the focus on the court. He has not yet sat down with the owner and discussed this. But he will, and I think we all know how that will end.
8:08 am: Larry Bird almost left last summer but came back as Indiana team president for this season because owner Herb Simon asked him to help the franchise through an unusual lockout season. He did. And the Pacers have grown with young talent into the third best team in the East and one on the rise.
Bird, 55, had an agreement with Simon to remain team president through the end of the season and decide his future then. The Hall of Famer has been clear in conversations with friends that Simon does not need to wait any longer before formally considering candidates to replace him, one of the sources said. Bird is said to be “100 percent” certain he’s leaving after the most successful season of the Pacers’ post-Palace brawl rebuilding, one of the sources said, but has been extremely guarded publicly about his intentions.
But this is a lot of arrows pointing in the direction we all thought he would go anyway. It was expected Bird would leave after this season, that seems to be where this is now headed.
If Bird does leave, don’t be shocked to see former Pacers president Donnie Walsh — most recently of turning around the Knicks fortunes — to come back and take the job. Walsh has a good relationship with Simon and is said to want to get back in the game.
Video: Magic Johnson talks New Bird/Magic Broadway play
Magic Johnson was on SportsBiz Game On with Darren Rovell Friday and talked about the new Bird/Magic play on Broadway.
But to me, the more interesting parts is about how this play works because of who it draws to the theater — male sports fans — and how those people don’t blink at Broadway prices because they pay that for sporting events.
Video: Bird, Magic on Late Night with David Letterman
Magic Johnson and Larry Bird swung by Late Night with David Letterman on Wednesday to promote the new play about their lives, and the two guys who are now friends tell some stories and have some laughs.
It’s a fun trip down memory lane. Enjoy.
As expected, looks like Larry Bird will retire from Pacers
“They asked me to stay another year through the lockout season, the owner did, for a favor. I was leaving, but he asked me to stay, and I will and I’ll get the job done.”
The Post’s sources are confirming this is over.
A handshake promise was given Simon last summer by Bird that he would consider re-upping for another season, but that has been ruled out. It’s believed Simon is aware of such and has a petite list of prospective replacement candidates.