Few people had a better vantage point for the Dream Team’s gold medal-winning run than Marv Albert, who sat courtside handling play-by-play duties for NBC Olympics’ basketball coverage.
Albert watched the Dream Team go 8-0 and win by an average of 43.8 points per game at the 1992 Barcelona Games. Eleven of the 12 players on the team are in the Basketball Hall of Fame as individuals, as NBA players were allowed to participate in Olympic basketball for the first time.
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, the Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA will air every Dream Team game from the Olympics with original commentary beginning Monday, Aug. 28. A full schedule is here.
In honor of “Dream Team Week,” Albert shared his memories and impressions from the 1992 Barcelona Games:
On his most memorable Dream Team moment: “The first time they ran onto the court, I got the chills because I knew then that we were seeing the greatest group of athletes assembled in the history of team sports – it was stunning.”
On the celebrity of the Dream Team: “It was extraordinary to see the reaction the team received from their time in Monte Carlo (where they trained) before the Games. They were the Beatles. This was a time when the league didn’t have many international players and we were taken aback by how much people knew about the team. They couldn’t walk the streets – although Charles (Barkley) did nearly every day with legions of fans who accompanied him along Las Ramblas.”
On the celebrity of the Dream Team (cont.): “There was a [pre-Olympics] game in Monte Carlo against France, and one of the guards on the French team was going against Jordan. He was playing him very rough, and Jordan was getting annoyed – they were taunting and pushing. The U.S. won, and at the end, the French player comes up with a photographer to take photos with Michael and puts his arm around him. You thought it was going to lead into fisticuffs during the game – but this would happen after every game, even at the Olympics.”
On the Dream Team’s impact on international basketball: “On opening day of the 1991-92 seasons, the NBA had 23 international players. Today, there are over 125 international players. This was so influenced by the Dream Team. Over the years after the ’92 Games, players from oversees would always refer to the effect watching the Dream Team on TV had on them.”
On having the opportunity to call the Dream Team games: “It was one of the great thrills of my career. The drama was seeing these guys together, and seeing them on the stand receiving the gold. Even now when I travel around the country to call games, I’m constantly asked about it.”
OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!Follow @srubinroit