Dream Team 30 year anniversary : Where are the players of the USA team in Barcelona 92 now?
Join us for an intriguing look back at what is widely considered the greatest basketball team ever assembled in the history of the game.
It’s been three decades, since the original ‘Dream Team’ took both Barcelona and the world by storm. Since that famous summer, one can imagine a lot has happened. Where are the guys from 92 and what are they doing now? Let’s find out!
A look back at the ‘Dream Team’ of Barcelona’s 1992 Summer Olympics
This summer, will mark 30 years since USA Basketball took the Olympics by storm with the entry of a basketball team made up of not amateurs or professionals, but rather the very best players on the planet at the time. To say it was a game changer would be an understatement, not just for USA Basketball, but for the wider world as well. There were no college players, nor were there players from lower leagues in the United States, as was normally the case. What we witnessed, was a collection of the most famous faces that the NBA had to offer.
Needless to say, Barcelona responded in kind. The fanfare surrounding the tea
m was akin to what you would expect with the Beatles or Michael Jackson coming to town to say the least. Yet, this wasn’t about a concert, at least not musical. USA Basketball initially released a roster or ensemble if you prefer, with 10 names: Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Charles Barkley, Scottie Pippen, Karl Malone, Patrick Ewing, David Robinson, John Stockton and Chris Mullin. The final two selections — Clyde Drexler and college sensation/Duke prodigy Christian Laettner — were added later. It was a team for the ages and remains so to this day. The ‘Dream Team’ would go on to obliterate the opposition in Barcelona, winning by an average of 43.8 points per game with the smallest margin of victory coming in a 32-point win over Croatia in the gold-medal game. “You will see a team of professionals in the Olympics again,” said USA coach Chuck Daly. “But I don’t think you’ll see another team quite like this. This was a majestic team.”
Where are the Dream Team members today?
As mentioned above, a lot’s happened since that incredible summer some 30 years ago, but rest assured the love that we still have for those amazing players stays strong. Here’s a look at each of the members of the 1992 ‘Dream Team’ and where they’re at today:
In a show of respect to the traditional Olympic framework i.e., utilizing amateur players, the USA selected one single college player for the Dream Team. Fresh of two consecutive NCAA championships with Duke, that player was Christian Laettner. Incidentally, Laettner got the nod of the NBA’s No. 1 Draft pick that year, Shaqille O’Neal. Laettner would go on to play in each and every game of the Olympic gold medal run and would even post the best numbers from the free-throw line with 18 of his 20 shots drained. While it’s true that his NBA career didn’t live up to expectation, he did get himself an All-Star selection with the Atlanta Hawks in 1997. Today, Laettner has established himself as a well-respected developer of youth basketball talent through his Christian Laettner Basketball Academy.
The lone survivor of Seoul 1988 Olympics, where the USA won a bronze medal, Robinson and that collection of players were actually the catalyst that led to a call for NBA players to be included in the Olympic arena. The No. 1 overall Draft pick of 1981, Robinson actually only joined the San Antonio Spurs two years later due to his US Navy service. As a graduate of the US Naval Academy, Robinson remains to this day the only one who has ever played in the NBA.
As for what ‘The Admiral’ does with his time these days, it’s all about community service. The two-time NBA champion and former league MVP formed a Christian non-profit school known as the Carver Academy in San Antonio which became a public establishment in 2012. Aside from that, Robinson has been involved in a number of philanthropic initiatives as well as forming Admiral Capital Group, a real estate and private equity firm. Today, Robinson stands as a recipient of the NBA’s Community Assist Award which bears the inscription, “Following the standard set by NBA Legend David Robinson, who improved the community piece by piece.”
Born in Jamaica, the 1985 No. 1 overall NBA Draft pick joined the New York Knicks where he remained for 15 years before ending his career with one-year stints in Seattle and Orlando. An 11-time NBA All-Star, Ewing never managed to win an NBA championship, though he did come close with a NBA Finals Game 7 loss to the Houston Rockets in 1994. Since his retirement, the big man has stayed close to the game with stints as an assistant coach in Houston, Orlando, Washington and Charlotte. Today, Ewing serves as coach of his alma mater, the George Town Hoyas.
A legend of the NBA and Celtics icon, Bird’s career needs no introduction. A three-time NBA champion as well as MVP, Bird actually brought the curtain down on his career with his participation in the 92 Olympics. Indeed, as the oldest player in the squad Bird was named co-captain alongside his eternal rival Magic Johnson. Following his career in the league, the 12-time All-Star entered into coaching and with no prior experience took charge of the Indiana Pacers, who he led to the Conference Finals of 1997 where they were defeated by Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls. Since that time, Bird has held several positions in the franchise and today serves in a consultancy role.
Like it or not, Scottie Pippen was and always will be known as Michael Jordan’s wingman. That’s not say, that Pippen wasn’t a sensational player in his own right. Aside from his pair of three peats with the Chicago Bulls, Pippen remains the only player in history to have won both an NBA championship and an Olympic gold medal in the same year, twice. Where the present tense is concerned, Pippen remains close to the game as he can often be seen on TV in an analytical role. Most recently, his son was drafted into the NBA.
Regarded as the greatest player ever to take up a basketball, it would be a waste of words to get into outlining Jordan’s exploits. What we can say, is that without doubt Jordan was the headline act of the Olmypics. Interestingly, Jordan’s participation in the tournament was entirely based on the notion that fellow NBA star Isiah Thomas of the Detroit Pistons would not be there. Thomas and Jordan had a less than amicable rivalry during their time in the NBA. Though it upset the team’s head coach Chuck Daly who was still the Piston’s coach, things went ahead as planned and the rest is history.
Like his career, Jordan’s exploits after retirement need no introduction. He remains one of the wealthiest athletes in history and is the majority owner of the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets. His Air Jordan brand and its ‘Jumpman’ logo remain one of the most recognizable brands and logos to date. If that wasn’t enough, Jordan was even awarded the presidential medal of honor in 2016
Another NBA great who locked horns with Michael Jordan, Drexler has always been regarded as a consummate professional. ‘The Glide,’ as he was known still holds the NBA record for most offensive rebounds and was without doubt a stellar performer in Barcelona. The 10-time All-Star came to prominence with the Portland Trail Blazers, before returning to his native Houston where he won a championship. Aside from owning bars, restaurants and real estate in the Houston area, Drexler also works as a commentator for Rockets home games.
Known as ‘the Mailman,’ Malone definitely delivered in Barcelona. A first-round pick for the Utah Jazz in 1985, Malone would actually form a prolific partnership with fellow Dream Teamer and Utah Jazz teammate, John Stockton. Incidentally, the pair actually became friends at the trials for the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, when both failed to make the cut. With his retirement in February 2005 after 19 seasons in the NBA, the 14-time All-Star and two-time NBA MVP walked away from the game at second in the NBA all-time points list behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. As for what he’s doing at present, when he isn’t managing a host of small businesses, Malone enjoys hunting and fishing.
It only took a glance to see that Stockton was the ‘little guy’ on the team back in 1992, but despite recovering from injuries he gave a credible account of himself. Prior to the games, Stockton had been involved in a collision with Michael Jordan which resulted in a fracture in his lower leg. Though he retired in 2003, the former Jazz star still stands as the assist and steals leader in the NBA to this day. Currently, the 10-time All-Star has been involved in youth team coaching as well as assistance of his former team on an informal basis.
Of the Dream Team members, Mullin is actually the most recent to be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame. That’s not to say he’s not worth it. One of three gold medalists that remained from the 1984 games, Mullin spent 12 seasons of his NBA career with the Golden State Warriors, before moving on to the Indian Pacers in 1997, where interestingly enough he was coached by Larry Bird. After stints in the front office of the Golden State Warriors and the Sacramento Kings, Mullin later took over the head coach’s job at his alma mater St John’s University in New York City. The fomer Warriors star would remain there until leaving the post in 2019, following the death of his brother.
Never one to shy away from a fight, Barkley let fans and teammates alike know how he was going to play from the first whistle. Following an unkind elbow to the chest of Angola’s Herlander Coimbra during the USA’s one-sided opening win, it was clear what we were in for. Barkley would go on to average 18 points per game in what was a stellar showing across the entire tournament. Interestingly, it was just before that summer that the star forward had left his long-time team, the Philadelphia 76ers. What would follow was a campaign with the Phoenix Suns that would bring him a league MVP, but unfortunately not a title as his Suns lost to Michael Jordan’s Bulls in the Finals of 1993. Though he tried his hand in politics in 1994, announcing that he would run as an independent candidate for governor of Alabama, the former NBA star later back tracked. Today, he can be found on TV working as an NBA analyst.
Irving ‘Magic’ Johnson
Another one of the iconic faces - truth be told they all were - of the ‘Dream Team,’ Magic was exactly that at the Summer Games. A 12-time All-Star, Johnson’s performance was twofold. On the one side, he didn’t fill to mesmerize crowds with his array of passes, but on the other he completely reinvented the perceptions of HIV/AIDS which were prevalent at the time. Having been diagnosed with the virus, Johnson, as well as the team itself faced intense scrutiny, but in the end both his performance and the team’s as well stood as testament to the power of sport. As things stand, Johnson has found extensive success in real estate and urban development, as well as being the co-owner of the WNBA’s LA Sparks, MLB’s LA Dodgers and LAFC of the MLS.