Back in 1984, when the USA men’s basketball team won the Olympics in Los Angeles, the team was made up of college kids. During this period, NBA players were not allowed to participate, and college players did just fine with the international competition.
The 1984 USA men’s Olympic basketball team was made up of the best college players America had to offer — Michael Jordan, Chris Mullin, Sam Perkins, and Patrick Ewing, to name a few. It is worth mentioning that several, later to be Hall-of-Famers, did not make the team—namely John Stockton and Charles Barkley.
In preparation for the Olympic games, Team USA played a series of exhibition games against NBA All-Stars. The idea was for the college kids to get a better feel of the pro game and toughen up before playing with grown men in the Olympics. In total — eight games were played between Team USA and the NBA’s All-Stars.
The All-Star roster was made up of NBA greats such as Magic, Bird, Thomas, McHale, Walton, Ainge, Parrish, Worthy, and Drexler. Even though their roster changed from game-to-game, the consensus was that Team USA did not stand a chance. However, to the surprise of many, Michael Jordan & Co. went on to dismantle the NBA’ greats in EVERY SINGLE GAME.
Imagine an all-college team today beating the NBA All-Stars eight times in a row. Simply unfathomable, and yet it happened. These exhibition games, along with the Olympic gold, was MJ’s announcement to the world: “There’s a new sheriff in town.