The 1992 United States men’s Olympic basketball team, otherwise known as the Dream Team, may be the greatest roster ever assembled in the history of the sport.
They went undefeated throughout the world tournament and earned a gold medal for their country, dominating opponents and winning their games by an average margin of victory of 43.8 points –– which remains an Olympic record.
This group was able to achieve historic success because of the multitude of legends who donned the red, white, and blue during the Summer of 1992.
Leading the way for Team USA in the backcourt were Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson.
Michael Jordan started every game. He finished second on the team in scoring, with 14.9 points per game, and first in steals with an otherworldly 4.6 per contest.
His backcourt mate, Magic Johnson, was second on the Dream Team in assists with 5.5, making up for his lackluster scoring compared to others on the squad, as he averaged just 8.0 points per game, which ranked as the third lowest on the roster. John Stockton, the NBA’s all-time leader in assists, and Portland Trail Blazers superstar Clyde Drexler made up the rest of the backcourt for Team USA.
Just like at the guard spots, the Dream Team’s frontcourt was stocked to the brim with all-time greats at their respective positions. Surprising to many, forward Charles Barkley led the U.S. in scoring with 18.1 points, and his 4.1 rebounds grabbed a contest had him tied for the second most on the roster.
Larry Bird played a pivotal role on the team, spacing the floor and and knocking down shots in limited minutes. The three-time champion and Boston Celtics legend concluded the final season of his NBA career heading into the Olympic games. At the time, he was not sure whether to join the team, until his bitter rival and lifelong friend Magic Johnson convinced him to.
The other small forwards for Team USA were Scottie Pippen and Chris Mullin. Pippen, an excellent young defender and scorer for the Chicago Bulls at the time, was second behind only Jordan in steals per game for the tournament, as he tallied 2.9 per contest. On the other hand, Mullin was more of an offensive spark for the Dream Team, as he finished the eight games of international play scoring 103 total points, the fourth most on the entire team.
New York Knicks big man Patrick Ewing did the dirty work for Coach Chuck Daly’s group. The center averaged 5.3 rebounds and 1.1 blocks for the tournament –– both team highs.
David Robinson, the San Antonio Spurs center who would go on to win multiple NBA titles alongside Tim Duncan, provided the team with an interior presence on both ends. The Admiral utilized his length and athleticism to pressure his opponents and force them to commit turnovers, as shown by his 1.8 steals average.
Along with Stockton, Team USA decided to add another member of the Utah Jazz, power forward Karl Malone. Malone finished third on the roster in scoring, with his best performance being an 18 point outburst against Lithuania in the semi-finals.
Lastly, Duke standout Christian Laettner was chosen to fill the final spot on the roster, and unsurprisingly did not have a significant role because he had yet to play in an NBA game. Laettner compiled 38 points and 20 rebounds in total for the Dream Team.
Nevertheless, when you have guys like Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson leading the way, you don’t really need a kid out of Duke to contribute.