It was just a scrimmage, but it has become folklore in this history of basketball. 20 years ago, the greatest team ever assembled ran over the rest of the world en route to winning the Gold Medal at the Barcelona Olympics. The “Dream Team” consisted of Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Michael Jordan, David Robinson Charles Barkley, and a slew of other top NBA talent. No team came close to beating them at the international level. However, a collection of young college stars did manage to hang an ‘L’ on the superstars in a closed practice scrimmage. Now we are about to see the footage of it happening.
The US Olympic team coach at the time, the late Chuck Daly, ordered that the scoreboard be wiped clean in hopes that reporters wouldn’t see what happend. Chris Webber, Bobby Hurley and Grant Hill were able to defeat the NBA All-Stars 62-54. Of course, Daly couldn’t hide the loss from the media, and word spread about how these young pups to it to them. A new documentary will be released next month, marking the 20th anniversary of the ‘Dream Team’ and it will include footage of that scrimmage.
Word is that Bobby Hurley was slicing through the NBAers with ease, which is somewhat sad to hear about. Hurley’s NBA career was essentially stifled after a horrific accident. Many believed he was going to be the next great point guard in the league. But he shows in this footage why people felt that way about him.
Current US Olympic coach Mike Krzyzewski was Daly’s top assistant at the time and claims that Daly actually threw the game so that the players themselves didn’t feel invincible.
“He threw the game. You know, Chuck threw the game,” Krzyzewski, then a U.S. assistant and the current head coach, said on the documentary. “If you look how much Jordan played and how he subbed guys in, not picking up, not making any adjustments, he knew what he was doing.”
This sounds exactly like something Daly would have done. Daly had a way of playing mind games with players on the Pistons all the time, so this fits the bill for him.
However, this doesn’t take away from the fact that the college kids essentially handled their business against the superstars. Webber and Hill would end up on the US National Teams just a couple years later and go on to be considered the best in the game when they were at the height of their NBA careers. Larry Bird stated afterward that they should be on the team.
Now, the college kids did their best chest-thumping after winning, which was a huge mistake. Michael Jordan made sure that Allan Houston never touched the ball in the next scrimmage, and the Dream Team annihilated the kids, bringing them back to reality.
The game that might even be more exciting to watch in the documentary is the famed Monte Carlo pick up game. Michael Jordan’s team beat Magic Johnson’s team 40-36, after MJ’s team trailed 14-2.