NEW YORK – Not urban legend: The Dream Team really did lose to a group of college stars.
A new documentary commemorating the 20-year anniversary of the Olympic gold medalists has the footage to prove it. The video shot at the time so coaches could analyze practice will now be televised to the world.
“The Dream Team” premieres tonight on NBA TV, chronicling the future Hall of Famers – led by Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird – who became the first NBA players to compete at the Olympics at the 1992 Barcelona Games. All 12 members sat down for fresh interviews.
NBA Entertainment cameras followed around the team during the Olympics, and some of that footage aired in various forms then. This is the first time all the behind-the-scenes moments have been shown together in one place.
“A lot of these things, we all kind of heard these stories,” executive producer Dion Cocoros said. “ ‘Hey, I heard they lost to the select team. Did they really have these intense practices?’ To show it takes it to the next level. A lot of this has been discussed for 20 years but never seen.”
The players participated in individual interviews from September through March. Each seemed to add a new anecdote or observation that the next Dream Teamer was asked about.
“It really sparked almost like a memory in them when we’d mention something they hadn’t thought of in a while,” Cocoros said.
In the 90-minute film, Jordan recalls his initial reluctance to commit to the team, signing on only after hearing that so many of his fellow superstars were on board. There’s footage of the Dream Teamers going at each other in practice with the vigor of a playoff game.
Off the court, the players reminisce about all the topless bathers when they trained in Monte Carlo. Another clip shows John Stockton, camcorder on his shoulder, walking around Barcelona with his family and trying – unsuccessfully – to get fans to recognize him.
As far as that one loss, Mike Krzyzewski, a Dream Team assistant, insists in the film that coach Chuck Daly “threw” the scrimmage as a lesson to his players during pre-Olympic preparations in San Diego by not making adjustments and using Jordan little. Still, it would seem any combination of five of the future Hall of Famers should have been able to defeat the college kids without any strategizing.