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Larry Bird credits Dream Team for growth of basketball around the world

Larry Bird, Dream Team

Boston Celtics legend Larry Bird credits the “Dream Team” for the growth of basketball around the world.

The 1992 United States men’s Olympic basketball team, nicknamed the “Dream Team,” was the first American Olympic team to feature NBA players. That team took the world by storm and was a national phenomenon, on and off the court.

Bird says that team brought a lot of eyes to the sport of basketball and made it popular internationally.

“The Dream Team, it is definitely the reason why I am here,” Bird told Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated. “The late Dave Gavitt told me before he even went over there. He said, ‘You can make a major influence on basketball throughout the world.’ And I didn’t understand that. He said, ‘You’re going to find out how far behind they are, and how hard they got to work.’ He said, ‘You’ll see their culture is spilling over to the NBA and colleges to learn.’

“And he was right on it. So, this is one of the reasons why we’re here today, because the Dream Team. … Look how many international players we have in our league now. It’s unbelievable. If you’re good enough, come in.”

The “Dream Team” was made up of Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Charles Barkley, David Robinson, Patrick Ewing, Karl Malone, Scottie Pippen, Chris Mullin, Clyde Drexler, John Stockton and Christian Laettner.

The Americans beat their opponents by an average of 44 points, taking home the Gold medal with ease.