The Voltron of Basketball Teams - The Downbeat #772

The Dream Team documentary that I mentioned in last week's DB airs tonight at 7:00 pm (mtn) on NBATV, so this week's DB is all Dream Team everything.

During the aforementioned Downbeat I caught a lot of flack for my comments about Chris Bosh not coming back sooner. We'll see just how much having to drag out that Celtics series affects their chances against the Thunder who had about a week's worth of rest.

Recently there was a great article published on GQ.com, and written by Lang Whitaker, about the Dream Team. Here is the link to the article: http://www.gq.com/sports/profiles/201207/dream-team-20th-anniversary-1992-olympics-usa-basketball. What does this have to do with Chris Bosh and my comment last week? This snippet here was in the article:

David DuPree (reporter for USA Today):

If they were selecting solely on ability and accomplishments, Isiah Thomas may have deserved it. But who are you going to leave off? Nobody was tougher than John Stockton; nobody was a better passer. John Stockton was a tough son of a bitch.

Followed immediately by this:

Jan Hubbard (NBA columnist for Newsday): Stockton broke a bone in his leg, and it healed very quickly.

Another point from last week's DB to carry over to this week is the involvement of our young guns, Gordon Hayward and Derrick Favors, with the USA Select Team. Of course, before they took young NBA players they used the best of the best college basketball players. In reality, there's not much of a difference. Most of the college players back then played at 3-4 years of college ball, so the skill level and, physical and mental maturity is probably on par with the legendary team that scrimmaged the Dream Team. That team included guys like Chris Webber, Penny Hardaway, and Bobby Hurley.

The legend goes that they came in, after getting over their awe for these superstars, and trounced the Dream Team:

Malone: We took them for granted, and they kicked our butt. And Coach Daly just had that look on his face like, "Well, this is what we told you guys. You gotta be ready." After that, we was chomping at the bit to play them again that same day, but he didn't let us. He let us stew on it a little bit.

After having their moment in the sun, the Dream Team came back the next morning and showed these up-and-comers what for:

Barkley: We sent them a little message.

Webber: We didn't score a point. Not one point. Not a point on a free throw, not a point in the game. We were the perfect wake-up call for them, and they were the perfect reality check for us.

That is the kind of killer instinct that these legends had and was passed on to the young players. Despite your personal opinions of him, C-Webb had that. The same with Penny, who was unable to compete at the level he wanted because of injury, and the same goes for Bobby Hurley, who by all accounts was destined to be on a level with what Steve Nash has been.

This is something that I sincerely hope GH and Fav pick up this summer.

Lang's article talks has quotes from some of the players about their experience in Monaco, especially their meal with Prince Rainier and Prince Albert. CLASSIC KARL MALONE ALERT:

Malone: I'm from the country. Our etiquette is pretty much, "Pass me the beans," and we pass it down. No disrespect to the prince—it took me a while to understand the rules. This glass was on this side, and this fork was for this... You know what? Let me eat. You're talking about a fish out of water—that's how I felt. I had a nice suit on, I guess.

Certainly we can't speak of a meal with royalty without including Sir Charles Barkley's take:

Craig Miller (USA Basketball director of public relations): They said if the prince puts his fork down and stops eating, you all better stop eating. And Charles said, "Well, I hope he stops when I'm done eating my meal, because I'm eating my meal."

All jokes aside, the first scrimmage between the Dream Team came in the legendary first practice in Monaco. They are going to show footage from it for the first time, and I can't wait. We hear all sorts of talk about intensity in practice and how hard Stockton and Malone worked. This will give us a first hand account of this.

Magic Johnson: Michael was going at Clyde; Clyde was going at Michael. David Robinson was going at Patrick Ewing; Patrick was going after him. Karl Malone was going after Barkley, Barkley after Malone. We were just going at it, man.

Carlesimo: These guys were so competitive. You couldn't play for an hour and a half with them frothing at the mouth, because they'd kill each other. A regular NBA team, if you're lucky, has one or two of these guys. We had twelve. They don't want to lose a drill, don't want to lose a shooting game, don't want to lose anything.

Amazing.

The fanfare that surrounded that team was like nothing the basketball world had ever seen. They were more on par with The Beatles than The Heatles will ever be. In the article they talk about this:

Kim Bohuny (NBA manager of international events):Other than Charles, it was too hard to go out. You were mobbed. Charles loved it. He wasn't afraid of the crowds.

I say, really? C'mon, son. Every good Jazz fan remembers this:

I loved the Dream Team (As you can tell). I don't think I can overstate how much that team fascinated and enthralled me. There were so many great stories behind these events. It was one of those rare occasions that captivates the entire world. It was also the first real introduction that people got of the great foreign basketball players, and not long after we saw guys like Vlade Divac, Drazen Petrovic, and Dino Radja in the NBA.

What are your favorite memories of the Dream Team? Will there ever be any team like it or was it a one of a kind deal because it was the first of its kind?

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