Memorable moments: The Dream Team

Ahead of the Barcelona Games, FIBA lifted restrictions on professionals at the Olympics, and paved the way for possibly the greatest assembly of talent in any team sport.


Of the 12-man USA squad, 11 have subsequently been elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame. The exception, Christian Laettner, was selected just ahead of another certain Hall of Famer, Shaquille O'Neal.

Without Shaq, the US had to make do with Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird and a truly stellar supporting cast that did not so much beat opponents as inflict ritual humiliation on them.

After disposing of Angola 116-48 in their opening game, they proceeded to give similarly short shrift to a beleaguered array of nations.

A fine Croatian team featuring Drazen Petrovic and Toni Kukoc did their best to keep the Dream Team honest, but still lost by 33 and 32 points in their two matches - including a 117-85 defeat in the final.

What the games lacked in drama, they made up in entertainment and sheer quality. Though they US have won three of four Olympic tournaments since, they have never recreated the electrifying brilliance of the original Dream Team.

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