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USA romped to gold at Barcelona 1992 thanks to the greatest squad in hoops history. But what’s happened to the squad since?
The USA Dream Team 1992 redefined the sport of basketball and helped make the NBA a global phenomenon.
All 11 professional players in the 12-man roster, arguably the greatest squad ever assembled, are individual members of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame with the team inducted in 2010.
They cruised to gold at the Barcelona Games, winning each game by at least 30 points and solidifying the status of Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, and Charles Barkley as global superstars.
The team averaged 117.3 points per game with head coach Chuck Daly not calling a single timeout during the tournament.
As part of the Olympic Channel’s Dream Team ’92 Revisited series, we’ve been re-broadcasting all the Barcelona games in full (broadcast schedule here).
And below we take a look at what happened to the 12 men and the four coaches who made up the original Dream Team.
As a nod to its previous all-amateur campaigns, the USA selected one college player for the Dream Team.
Thanks to his superior performances for reigning two-time NCAA champions Duke, Laettner got the call over NBA number one draft pick Shaquille O’Neal who would win gold as part of Dream Team II four years later in Atlanta.
He played in every game and was the best of the squad from the free-throw line making 18 shots out of 20.
While his NBA career failed to match his college exploits, Laettner did become an All-Star in 1997 with the Atlanta Hawks.
He played 13 seasons in the top league for six different teams before pursuing business interests with his former Duke team-mate Brian Davis including part-ownership of Major League Soccer team D.C. United.
After selling his stake, Laettner has run a number of youth training camps through the Christian Laettner Basketball Academy.
His college reputation still precedes him with ESPN making a 2015 documentary entitled ‘I Hate Christian Laettner’ detailing why he was still reviled following his Duke days, a show he was happy to be interviewed for.
More recently, he hooked up with Olympic Channel for ‘The Z Team‘ where he tried to help Garinger High School in Charlotte, North Carolina, turn their fortunes around.
Laettner is the only member of the Dream Team not to be in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as an individual, although the team was inducted as a whole in 2010.
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5 – David Robinson, center, San Antonio Spurs
Robinson was the tallest member of the Dream Team at 2.16m (7’1″) and the only survivor from Seoul 1988 where the USA’s bronze medal prompted the call for NBA players to enter the Olympic fray.
He was the number one overall draft pick in 1987 but only joined the San Antonio Spurs two years later as he had to complete his service in the US Navy leading to his nickname of ‘The Admiral’ although his rank was Lieutenant on departure.
No other graduate from the US Naval Academy has played in the NBA.
Robinson turned around a side which had been 21-61 the season before his arrival, playing in every game as they made the playoffs with a 56-26 record.
He played 14 seasons with the Spurs, winning the 1995 NBA MVP award before securing NBA titles in 1999 and 2003.
The 10-time All-Star also won two Olympic gold medals, returning for Dream Team II at Atlanta 1996.
In 2001, Robinson founded a Christian non-profit private school called the Carver Academy in San Antonio which became a public establishment in 2012.
Since his retirement following his second NBA Finals success, Robinson has continued with philanthropic initiatives as well as forming Admiral Capital Group, a real estate and private equity firm.
His efforts have been recognised by his peers with the winner of the annual NBA Community Assist Award receiving the David Robinson Plaque bearing the inscription, “Following the standard set by NBA Legend David Robinson, who improved the community piece by piece.”
6 – Patrick Ewing, center, New York Knicks
Like his fellow center Robinson, Ewing had previous Olympic experience although his was more enjoyable as he won gold on home soil at Los Angeles in 1984 months after leading Georgetown Hoyas to their first and only NCAA title.
The Jamaican-born star was the 1985 number one overall NBA draft pick and joined the New York Knicks where he remained for 15 years before ending his career with one-year stints in Seattle and Orlando.
In Barcelona, Ewing outperformed Robinson with 9.5 points and 5.3 rebounds per game against 9 points and 4.1 rebounds.
He also led the team for blocks with 15 in Barcelona.
An 11-time All-Star, Ewing never won an NBA ring with the Knicks losing out in Game 7 of the 1994 Finals to Hakeem Olajuwon and the Houston Rockets.
Now 57, Ewing has stayed involved with basketball on a day-to-day basis serving in assistant roles at Washington (2002-03), Houston (2003-06), Orlando (2007-12) and Charlotte (2013-17).
In April 2017, he returned to his old stamping ground to become head coach of Georgetown and secured a return to the postseason last year for the first time since 2014-15.
7 – Larry Bird, forward, Boston Celtics
The inspiration behind the Celtics’ five NBA Finals appearances in the 1980s – including three titles and an epic rivalry with the LA Lakers – Bird ended his illustrious career at Barcelona 1992.
Despite back problems interrupting recent seasons, he was one of the first to sign up for the Dream Team after Boston general manager Dave Gavitt had worked hard to get NBA stars into the Olympics.
The oldest man in the squad at 35, Bird was named co-captain with Magic Johnson who had been his big adversary in college and the NBA.
Fifteen years after winning gold with Team USA at the 1977 Summer Universiade, he won the biggest prize in international basketball.
Bird, a three-time NBA MVP and 12-time All-Star after being picked sixth overall in the 1978 NBA Draft, retired after Barcelona 1992 and became a special assistant in the Celtics’ front office.
In 1997, despite having no previous coaching experience, he took charge of the Indiana Pacers and guided them to the Eastern Conference Finals where they went down 4-3 to Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls.
That run earned Bird the NBA Coach of the Year award, and he took the Pacers to the Eastern Conference Finals again the following year before going all the way to the NBA Finals in 2000 where the Lakers, this time led by Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant, proved his undoing yet again.
Having promised to take the job for no more than three years, Bird quit but returned to Indiana as president of basketball operations in 2003.
He was named NBA Executive of the Year after the 2011-2012 season but stepped down for health reasons before taking on the role again from 2013.
Bird resigned again in 2017 but still works with the Pacers on a consultative basis.
He and his old sparring partner Johnson shared the NBA Lifetime Achievement Award in 2019 .
“The enjoyment for me was just being there for the Olympics. I had been on teams with some of these guys, but this was the Olympics. It was special.” – Larry Bird to Olympic.org
Pippen will always be known as Michael Jordan’s right-hand man at the Bulls as they secured NBA title three-peats from 1991-93 and 1996-98.
He was a great player in his own right and, after being picked fifth overall in the 1987 NBA Draft, a seven-time All-Star in an illustrious 17-year career.
The small forward also won two Olympic titles, leading the Dream Team with 5.9 assists per game (47 in total) in Barcelona before winning another gold four years later in Atlanta.
He remains the only player in history to win an NBA title and Olympic Gold medal in the same year twice (’92 and ’96).
After 11 seasons with Chicago, he had one year with the Houston Rockets before joining the Portland Trail Blazers.
Following his fourth season in Oregon, Pippen returned to Chicago where he had one injury-interrupted campaign and missed out on the playoffs for the first time before announcing his retirement.
He made a brief comeback in 2008 aged 42 playing for teams in Finland and Sweden before going back to the Bulls two years later as a team ambassador in 2010 and a special adviser.
Pippen’s growing media commitments led to a conflict with his position at the Bulls, and he left the organisation earlier this year.
9 – Michael Jordan, guard, Chicago Bulls
The headline act of the Dream Team and arguably the greatest basketball player to draw breath, ‘His Airness’ transcended his sport.
After being picked third overall in the 1984 Draft – Hakeem Olajuwon was number one – Jordan won gold with the USA at the Los Angeles Games.
In the NBA, he made an immediate impact as a rookie with a strong all-round game.
While his spectacular dunks attracted the headlines, he was also immense in defense and became the first player in NBA history to pull off 200 steals and 100 blocked shots in a season in 1986-87.
He repeated that feat the following season with Olajuwon (1988-89) and Bulls team-mate Pippen (1989-90) the only other men to achieve it.
Jordan went to Barcelona after Chicago’s second consecutive NBA Championship triumph but only agreed to do so on the proviso that Isiah Thomas, the Detroit Pistons leader who had been involved in several altercations with Jordan and the Bulls, would not be in the roster.
Thomas’ exclusion upset head coach Chuck Daly who was still in charge of the Pistons when the Dream Team roster was announced in September 1991.
While Jordan made only 45.1% of his shots from the field in Barcelona, he was the undoubted main attraction of the tournament and was the only player to start all eight games.
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Chicago completed a hat-trick of NBA titles the following year but, after the murder of his father, Jordan retired from basketball in October 1993 and played minor league baseball before announcing his return to the Bulls in March 1995.
Boosted by the addition of Dennis Rodman, Chicago returned to the summit with Jordan leading the team to three more consecutive titles from 1996 to 1998.
After his second retirement in January 1999, Jordan became part-owner and president of basketball operations at the Washington Wizards a year later.
He announced his comeback in September 2001, saying he would donate his salary to those affected by the 9/11 terrorist attacks which took place two weeks previously.
Jordan played two seasons with the Wizards and made his 14th All-Star appearance in 2003 during a campaign in which he played all 82 regular season games.
The five-time NBA MVP and six-time Finals MVP retired for good in April 2003 but owner Abe Pollin chose not to rehire him as Washington’s president of basketball operations, a decision Jordan later called “callous”.
In 2006, he bought a share in the Charlotte Bobcats (now Hornets) and became majority owner in 2010, a position he still holds.
Nike’s Air Jordan trainers and the ‘Jumpman’ silhouette logo (created in 1998) are perhaps the most iconic items of sportswear in the world, and Jordan was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2016.
10 – Clyde Drexler, guard, Portland Trail Blazers
Drexler was the last man named to the Dream Team, filling the spot left by Isiah Thomas’ exclusion.
A first-round draft pick in 1983, Drexler became a mainstay for the Portland Trail Blazers and led them to the 1990 NBA Finals where they went down to Thomas’ Detroit Pistons.
Portland went to the Finals again in 1992, but this time it was Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls who would deny them a first championship since 1977.
Drexler certainly played his part in Barcelona, shooting 57.8% from the field and averaging 10.5 points and 3.6 assists per game.
Like Jordan, ‘The Glide’ boasted a fine all-round game and no guard has more career offensive rebounds.
He moved on to reigning NBA champions the Houston Rockets in 1995 where he was reunited with University of Houston team-mate Hakeem Olajuwon, and helped them retain their crown before retiring in 1998.
The ten-time All-Star then returned to the University of Houston as men’s head coach but quit after two seasons.
As well as owning bars, restaurants and real estate in the Houston area, Drexler works as a color commentator for Rockets home games and, since 2018, has been commissioner of the Big3 three-on-three league founded by rapper Ice Cube and featuring former NBA players.
11 – Karl Malone, forward, Utah Jazz
‘The Mailman’ always delivered and Barcelona 1992 was no exception.
Picked in the first round of the 1985 draft by Utah, Malone went on to combine to great effect with fellow Dream Team member John Stockton.
The pair actually became friends at the trials for the 1984 Los Angeles Games squad with both men failing to make the cut.
Putting power into the power forward position, Malone was too much to handle for most teams on his first Games appearance.
He scored the team’s first and last points of the tournament, and averaged 13.0 points and 5.3 rebounds per game.
Malone was also part of Dream Team II at Atlanta 1996 where he claimed a second gold medal.
The NBA title eluded him throughout his career with the Jazz falling at the final hurdle twice, to Jordan’s Chicago Bulls in both 1997 and 1998.
Knee injuries restricted his appearances for the LA Lakers when he joined them for the 2003-04 season, but they were favourites to win the NBA Finals before going down in five games to the Detroit Pistons.
He eventually retired in February 2005 after 19 seasons in which he made 14 All-Star appearances, claimed NBA MVP awards in 1997 and 1999, and went second in the NBA all-time points list behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
Malone went on to serve as an assistant coach at his alma mater, Louisiana Tech University, from 2007 to 2011 before helping out the Jazz on an advisory basis in 2013.
Nowadays, he owns a range of small businesses in Louisiana and Utah and enjoys hunting and fishing in his spare time.
12 – John Stockton, guard, Utah Jazz
While Malone provided the muscle in the paint for the Jazz, Stockton worked his magic in the backcourt wearing his ‘short shorts’.
At 1.85m (6’1″) and 79kg (175lb), he was the smallest man in the Dream Team by some distance.
Stockton did well to make it to Barcelona, suffering a fracture in his lower leg against Canada in the Americas tournament ahead of the Games in a collision with Michael Jordan.
Hindered by the pain from the injury, he played just four of the USA’s eight games and was a peripheral figure in Barcelona.
He did average two of his trademark assists per game in limited time on the court, but made more of a contribution four years later as USA secured gold again in Atlanta.
Unlike Malone, Stockton spent his entire career with Utah and missed just 22 games in his 19 seasons in Salt Lake City.
A first-round draft pick in 1994 after studying at Gonzaga University, where Japanese prospect Rui Hachimura recently starred, he retired in 2003 with more assists and steals than anyone else in NBA history by considerable margins.
The 10-time All-Star coached youth teams after retirement and helped out the Jazz on an informal basis.
He went on to become an assistant for Montana State University women’s basketball team in 2015 where his daughter was playing, and has a number of business interests in Utah.
13 – Chris Mullin, forward, Golden State Warriors
Mullin was the last of the professionals in the Dream Team to be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame, receiving the individual accolade one year after the team’s induction in 2010.
One of three gold medallists from Los Angeles 1984 in the squad, along with Patrick Ewing and Michael Jordan, Mullin spent the first 12 seasons of his NBA career with Golden State after being drafted in 1985.
While slightly smaller in stature than Larry Bird, Mullin shared the Celtics hero’s ability to shoot from range and led the Dream Team with 14 three-pointers from 26 attempts.
He averaged 12.9 points and 3.6 assists a game in Barcelona as he collected his second Olympic gold medal.
The five-time All-Star moved to the Indiana Pacers in 1997, where he was coached by Bird, and started all 82 games in the regular season before helping the team to the Eastern Conference Finals where they lost out in Game 7 to the Chicago Bulls.
Mullin saw less time on court in his second season, although he started every game in the playoffs as the Pacers again fell in the Eastern Conference Final, and was very much a bench player in his third campaign for Indiana who lost out to the LA Lakers in the NBA Finals.
He then returned to Golden State for one last season before retiring to take up a special assistant role with the franchise in 2001.
Mullin was named Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations in April 2004 but was let go five years later.
He started working as a TV analyst in 2010 and later became an adviser for the Sacramento Kings before taking the head coach’s job at his alma mater St John’s University in New York City.
The team improved year-on-year and reached the First Four in 2019 before Mullin stepped down following the death of his brother from cancer.
14 – Charles Barkley, forward, Phoenix Suns
Barcelona 1992 saw ‘Sir Charles’ start his rise to megastardom.
Known for his abrasive and aggressive demeanour on court, Barkley soon showed he was not going to let up against inferior opposition at the Olympics by elbowing Angola’s Herlander Coimbra in the chest during the USA’s one-sided opening win.
He also chose not to bother with the bodyguards which protected the rest of the squad around town, claiming his fists would look after him.
But he shone as brightly as any of the stars around him in the Dream Team, leading the way with 18.0 points per game and hitting an incredible 71.1% of his shots from the field including seven three-pointers out of eight.
Barkley had just left the Philadelphia 76ers for the Phoenix Suns and he took the NBA MVP award in his first season in Arizona, leading the franchise to the 1993 NBA FInals where they went down in six games to Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls.
Despite being relatively short for a forward at 1.98m (6’6″), he was a superb rebounder and appeared in 11 consecutive All-Star Games from 1987 to 1997.
Injuries plagued him after that, and a move to the Houston Rockets after winning a second Olympic gold in 1996 failed to yield the NBA Championship he craved.
A torn thigh muscle sustained on the road at the 76ers in December 1999 looked to have ended his career, but he was determined not to go out on a stretcher.
Barkley suited up for the Rockets’ regular season finale against the Vancouver Grizzlies and, after a trademark basket on the rebound in the second quarter, took his final bow.
Since retirement, Barkley has been in great demand in the media as a commentator and outspoken pundit and continues to court controversy up to this day.
He has also flirted with politics, announcing he would run as an independent for Governor of Alabama in 2014 before later backtracking.
15 – Earvin “Magic” Johnson, guard, LA Lakers
Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson provided the feelgood story of the Dream Team.
The 1979 number one draft pick won the NBA Finals MVP award in his rookie season as he led the LA Lakers to the NBA Championship.
He won four more NBA titles and three league MVP awards before announcing his retirement suddenly in November 1991 when a pre-season medical revealed that he had tested positive for HIV.
Two months before that, he was named in the first Olympic Dream Team and then-NBA Commissioner David Stern made sure he could take his place in the squad as well as fulfill a fans’ vote to play to start the 1992 All-Star Game.
After Stern’s passing at the turn of the year, Johnson paid tribute.
Despite knee trouble restricting Johnson to six of the USA’s eight games in Barcelona, he still managed an impressive 5.5 assists per game.
But his presence alone spoke volumes and helped change the perception surrounding HIV/AIDS.
Magic assists and Jordan dunks
The 12-time All-Star coached the Lakers on an interim basis in 1994 before stepping down and purchasing a share of the team.
He then returned as a player at the end of the 1995-96 season, helping the Lakers to the playoffs where they went down 3-1 to reigning champions the Houston Rockets.
Johnson chose to quit the NBA for good after that and his 11.2 assists per game remains the highest in league history.
After a failed stint as a talk show host and a brief return to playing in Scandinavia, he has made his mark in business with extensive real estate and urban development interests.
He now also co-owns the LA Sparks WNBA team, the LA Dodgers baseball side, and Major League Soccer franchise LAFC.
Johnson returned to the Lakers as their president of basketball operations in February 2017 but stepped down from the role just over two years later after disagreeing with owner Jeanie Buss over the future of head coach Luke Walton.
He remains an advocate for HIV/AIDS awareness and recently teamed up with the NBA to urge fans to practise social distancing in order to control the spread of COVID-19.
Head coach Chuck Daly
After guiding the Detroit Pistons to nine straight playoff appearances, including their first two NBA Championships, Daly resigned as their head coach ahead of the Barcelona Games.
Despite his anger over Isiah Thomas’ exclusion from the squad, he was able to guide the Dream Team to the most dominant campaign in Olympic history.
All without calling a single timeout at Barcelona ’92.
Armed with the strongest squad ever assembled, Daly elected to keep things simple and allow his players as much freedom as they needed even though they stayed in a hotel outside of the Athletes’ Village over security concerns.
After the Games, Daly took charge of the New Jersey Nets for two seasons before becoming a color commentator on NBA games.
After being inducted to the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame and voted one of the Top Ten Coaches in NBA History, he returned to the fray with the Orlando Magic in 1997.
After reaching the playoffs in 1999, Daly quit when they went out in the first round to Allen Iverson’s Philadelphia 76ers.
Daly, who later served as a special consultant at the Vancouver Grizzlies, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer early in 2009 and died that May aged 78.
He was posthumously admitted to the Hall of Fame for a second time in 2010 as part of the Dream Team.
The Chuck Daly Lifetime Achievement Award has been awarded annually by the NBA since 2009 to a long-serving coach who matches his **”**standard of integrity, competitive excellence and tireless promotion of NBA basketball”.
Assistant Mike Krzyzewski
As well as being head coach of the Duke Blue Devils since 1980, Krzyzewski has been involved with the national team for over four decades.
He was an assistant in the gold medal teams of 1984 and 1992 having been USA head coach at the World Championships in 1990.
After being a mainstay of USA Basketball selection committees, he was appointed head coach permanently in 2005, marshalling the Redeem Team to gold at Beijing 2008 following their shock semi-final defeat to Argentina at Athens 2004.
World Cup glory followed in 2010 with Krzyzewski guiding USA to gold at London 2012 before stepping down in February 2013.
He quickly reversed that decision with USA retaining their world title before completing a hat-trick of Olympic triumphs at Rio 2016, after which he handed over the reins to San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich.
Krzyzewski remains in charge of Duke with the last of his five NCAA Division I title triumphs coming in 2015.
Assistant Lenny Wilkens
Wilkens was in charge of the Cleveland Cavaliers, one of his six NBA teams as a head coach, when he acted as an assistant for the Dream Team.
Four years later, he was head coach as Dream Team II took gold on home soil in Atlanta.
His career is every bit as decorated as the players he worked with, earning nine All-Star appearances as a player and eventually four as a head coach.
He even combined playing and coaching roles with the Seattle SuperSonics from 1969 to 1972.
Wilkens later claimed his only NBA Championship with the Sonics in 1979 and won the Coach of the Year award in 1994 while with the Atlanta Hawks.
He retired in 2005 after setting the NBA record for most wins as a head coach which was beaten by Don Nelson in 2010 but he still holds the record for most games.
Having been inducted to the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame as a player and as a coach, Wilkens was inducted for a third time in 2010 as part of the Dream Team.
He also received the Chuck Daly Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011 and was named alongside Daly as one of the Top 10 Coaches in NBA History.
Assistant P.J. Carlesimo
Carlesimo was head coach of Seton Hall University when he was named an assistant at Barcelona.
He went on to coach four NBA teams, including Golden State where he was infamously choked and punched by the team’s star Latrell Sprewell who was suspended for a year.
He enjoyed most success as Popovich’s assistant at the Spurs from 2002-07 with the team winning three NBA titles in that time.
Now 70, Carlesimo works regularly as a TV basketball analyst.