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Friday, July 15th, 2011 at 10:30 am  |  36 responses

For Old Time’s Sake: The Dream Team

Mercy

The ’92 Olympic Basketball squad is the greatest team ever assembled in any sport in the history of the universe. Yes, I guess I’m bias as a hoops fan and child of the 90s but I do believe many would agree. The roster was stacked with NBA Hall of Famers and they beat opponents by an average of 44 pts/game (32 in the Gold Medal game against Croatia). What I did not know until this morning was that Christian Laettner, who had no NBA experience at the time and was probably the weakest link on the team, beat out LSU’s Shaquille O’Neal for the final roster spot. Shaq on the ’92 Dream Team??? The shellackings would have been even more epic. U-S-A.

@Schneezy

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  • http://www.optimabbc.be Max

    That was some straight up domination..

  • mary elizabeth gil

    as i knew shaq went for the draft, thats why lattener got it… lucky ahole!!!

  • mary elizabeth gil

    as i knew shaq went for the draft, thats why laettner got it… lucky ahole!!!

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    Damn, just imagine if they had Shaq instead of Lattener. They would have beat teams by 60, so in a way they underachieved.

  • shannon

    There will be never, ever, ever another team, like this.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    The Laettner issue was huge at the time and was seen by many black folks as a clear example of racism.
    Of course, the sports media said that Laettner was a champion and deserved to be rewarded. Yeah, ok.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    And, it’s funny watching how brash those cats were. They were straight digging in cheeks with no remorse and no attempts to be friends between the lines. I like that.

  • dannyb

    Shaq didn’t make the team for two reasons: Ewing and Robinson. Plus, adding a collegiate player was really just a token gesture. My guess is that they thought Laettner would be more willing to ride the bench than Shaq.

  • Sean B

    Christian Lattener is the most overrated great college player ever. He had an excellent college career but he did not get it done in the NBA. Shows the wide disparity in college greatness vs. the pros, a lot of times I have trouble judging a guy based on college success because the two games are just so different.

  • martey

    Trade mullins for d.wilkins
    Trade stockton for isiah thomas
    Trade laettner for shaq.
    Team would have been perfect

  • http://Philosophervision@blogspot.com The Philosopher

    The greatest team that has ever lived.

  • Klaustophobik

    So basically take out every white person?? ^^^^

  • EJ

    Dominique would’ve probably played for France, and John was better than Isiah in ’92.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JbAd5IEUTUg Chris Mullin’s Accent

    Mullin for Wilkins? So take out the best three point shooter on the team (yeah, even better than bird at the time) and the fourth leading scorer for a lesser version of Jordan, Drexler, Pippen? Sounds dumb, but I guess it would make for a better highlight video.

  • dannyb

    Plus nobody wanted Isiah on the team. Magic has even said so in interviews.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    It was a coincidence they were all white, I’m sure.
    And, I think Isiah was still better than Stockton in 92. Mullin was a better shooter than Nique though. It’s a toss up there although Nique was the better overall player. And the Shaq issue isn’t even an argument.

  • Bill Sunday

    take out stockton for Isaiah???? PUHLEASE And it says right there in the paragraph that laetner beat out shaq for the spot.

  • http://www.kb24.com The Seed

    ZEKE SHOULD HAVE BEEN ON THIS TEAM AND NIQUE, TOO MUCH POLITICS GOING ON!!! BOOK IT!

  • MikeC.

    That team was so stacked that Shaq wouldn’t have played much. Even though Shaq was an athletic freak back then, he wouldn’t have meshed with that team as well as Laettner. Laettner was a better jump shooter and passer. They didn’t need a lowpost finisher as the last person on the roster. They needed a guy who could come in for a few minutes every now and then and move the ball. I think they took Laettner because he was just better at staying out of the way and being an invisible piece. However, if Zo had the 15-footer back then that he had later in his career, Zo would have been the best choice.

  • robb

    Dominique is the most underrated player ever

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Mike C.
    Come on. They took Laetnner because he was a four year collegian, and the National Player of the Year and the epitome of that was right with college basketball in lots of people’s minds.
    Shaq was leaving school early, was brash and rambunctious, and lost in the NCAA tournament every year because his coach was an idiot.
    It wasn’t about talent, or meshing with the team, it was about sending a message about who and what was acceptable.
    People really did believe that Laettner had the game to be an NBA star. Maybe not as good as Shaq, but at least as good as Zo. He was a colossal flop to be honest.

  • HAMMER

    Mos def the best team ever. Hands down!

  • MikeC.

    @Allenp – I didn’t say Laettner wasn’t a flop. Maybe the politics at the time conspired against Shaq, but you can’t argue that Laettner’s game wasn’t more suited to be the “sit at the end of the bench, and when you play, catch a pass and swing it to Larry in the corner” than Shaq’s. That team was so loaded that they needed an invisible 12th man. Shaq was too good to be invisible. Did we learn nothing from the incarnations of Team USA that got drilled? Teams need role players and invisible 12th men. Laettner was the Brian Cardinal of that team. Shaq was too good to be Brian Cardinal.

  • logues

    Chris Mullen’s Accent is the by far the best name ive seen on here haha, and i would love to see a poster of either the whole dream team posing together or one of mj flying mid air for a dunk. who else agrees??

  • Allenp

    I don’t know man. I don’t know.

  • http://zarky01 zarky

    Man, that was some pass to himself by PIP

  • MikeC.

    @Allenp – did you see the 1994 World Championship team? Shaq was an undeniable force of nature for that team. Ill lineup. Shaq, Zo, Kemp, DC, the shadow of Nique, LJ as a frontline. Reggie, Mark Price, Dumars, KJ, Steve Smith in the back court. Such domination and swagger. Joe D, Smitty and Price looked so uncomfortable with all the trash-talking, but they sure looked fine with all that daylight to shoot. Reggie was raising up about 10 feet behind the FIBA line. He was literally giggling like a little kid for chunks of the game against Puerto Rico.

  • Martey

    Just revisiting this post. Yea actually its a coincidence they’re all Caucasians but so is Bird and he’s a starter in my book (and one of my all-time faves). I was actually alive in ’92 and am not going by books and highlights. Stockton was in no way better than Isiah in 92. You’re simply our you’re mind, EJ. Isiah didn’t make the team simply because the rest of the team objected and hated him. He even went as far as making a comment to the effect that Stockton couldnt carry his jockstrap which earned him a Karl Malone elbow and a bloody face. You can hate on Isiah for being Isiah but his career and dominance were what they were. Sorry kids. As far as Wilkins and Mullins, that’s an interesting one. I love Chris Mullins, being a New Yorker and having a soft spot for shooters and would actually like to see him in charge of the Knicks. However, like someone said, Nique is the most underrated player ever and if you think he was only highlights and dunks, then you are probably still in high school with a youtube account. He may have only been eligible for France at the time though. As for Laettner and Shaq…well…

  • Basketballjonesuba

    So just how old are you to not know this?

  • Martey

    Laettner beat out Shaq for the spot because his popularity was sky high due to that famous shot. They hype for ol’ Chris was bigger than Shaq’s at the time

  • Martey

    too bad the Dream naturalized two years too late

  • Armando

    i hate it when basketball fans cannot see through skin colour, happens too often.. but not in this case i think… i do believe that the laettner selection was political, but i don’t think it had anything to do with race. laettner wouldn’t have been selected hadn’t it been for his 4 year brilliant career and that everyone thought he’d become better than he did. I do believe that he would still have been selected if he wasn’t white and played for UNC as long as he had completed college, won the NPOTY and hit the shot. Perfect signal to send regardless of skin color. As for Isiah, I don’t think there would be a need to sacrifice Stockton him to put on the team (although he was a dork and tended to play the race card). Going by sheer talent in 1992, Bird and Magic along with Laettner should be the ones chopped, but clearly that wouldn’t be right as two of the top 5 or 6 players of all time, simply having their names on the roster couldn’t and shouldn’t be avoided. Mullin was selected for the all-nba 1st team (along with drexler, malone, robinson and jordan) a month before the games and was the greatest shooter on the team, so arguably, in ’92 he was better than wilkins although Wilkins probably had the better career..
    debatable snubs (and stats at the end of the 91-92 season):
    wilkins: 28.ppg 7.0rpg
    rodman: 9.8ppg 18.7rpg
    thomas: 18.5ppg 7.2apg
    hardaway:23.4ppg 10.0apg 2.0spg
    k.johnson: 19.7ppg 10.7apg

    all in all, i think who should be on the team ended up on the team except for laettner (although i understand the reasoning behind the selection) who should be swapped with one of the ones listed above.

  • Armando

    The selections that were made were made not solely based on skill or production, but what the represented:
    Bird and Magic: Team captains, faces of 80s NBA and the saviors of the NBA after the dark 70s.
    Stockton and Malone: Iconic, dynamic duo.
    Jordan: The games biggest star.
    Ewing: New York.
    Drexler: gives you the same high-flying highlights as Wilkins, but a much better player.
    Pippen: The games best all-around player and arguably the best permiteter defender.
    Barkley: “Speaks” for itself.
    Mullin and Robinson: Regarded two of the best players in the world at the moment. The best center, and the team needed a shooter.
    Leattner: college grad, POY, big shot.

  • Armando

    Thus the argument for including Thomas is strong, but not at the cost of Stockton.

  • http://Philosophervision@blogspot.com The Philosopher

    The worst thing Christian Laettner ever did in his basketball career was make the NBA all star game. That let people know that he was actually a very good player, and it heightened the intensity of criticism he would receive during his career.
    At the end of the day, Laettner had greatness in him.
    He didn’t care.
    By the time he got to the League, one can argue that he was a little disillusioned about basketball.
    People hoping that he was “the great white hope”, and what not.
    Then came Keith Van Horn…
    Now, Jimmer Fredette.

  • Arv

    Dominique Wilkins and Isiah Thomas should have been part of that Dream Team!

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