Preliminary Round (Pool Play)
U.S. 116, Angola 48
U.S. 103, Croatia 70
U.S. 111, Germany 68
U.S. 127, Brazil 83
U.S. 122, Spain 81
U.S. 115, Puerto Rico 77
U.S. 127, Lithuania 76
U.S. 117, Croatia 85
The 1992 U.S. Olympic Men’s Basketball Team is considered the best basketball team of all time. Of the 12 players on the roster, 11 have been inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
It was the first year that professional players were allowed to compete in The Olympics. The Americans made sure to put on a show that would be remembered, winning every game by more than 30 points at the Barcelona 1992 Olympic Games.
“It was like, the guys lost in ’88, and so then they sent in the Navy Seals,” center Patrick Ewing said, referencing the United States’ 82-76 loss to the Soviet Union in the Seoul 1988 Olympic Games semifinals. “We were the Navy Seals. We were the elite forces, the elite of the elite forces. We came in, and we kicked butt and took names and got everybody back home safely.
The American roster was a who’s who of basketball, the greatest players of the generation. Michael Jordan started every game and Magic Johnson started five of six, sitting out twice because of a knee injury. The other starting roles switched from game to game. It didn’t much matter who was in the lineup. Opponents never had a chance.
Charles Barkley averaged a team-leading 18 points per game, while Jordan averaged 14.9. Karl Malone, Chris Mullin and Clyde Drexler also averaged in double figures. How dominant was the team? Coach Chuck Daly did not call a single timeout in the entire tournament.
On the court, perhaps the only intrigue in pool play came in the second game, where Chicago Bulls teammates Jordan and Scottie Pippen both wanted to guard Croatian star Toni Kukoc, who had been drafted by the Bulls but had yet to join the team. Kukoc made just 2 of 11 shots and scored only four points in a 103-70 American win.
Off the court, the players drew throngs of fans whenever they ventured out in Barcelona.
“It was,” said Daly, “like Elvis and the Beatles put together. Traveling with the Dream Team was like traveling with 12 rock stars. That’s all I can compare it to.”