Back in the late 80s and early 90s, Mark Price had a great run as the point guard for the Cleveland Cavaliers. His legacy is cemented in the team’s history as one of the six retired jerseys in the Cavs arena. Price’s accolades include being a four-time NBA All-Star, two-time NBA three-point contest champion, and being the second player behind Larry Bird to join the 50-40-90 club in 1989.
The NBA Eastern Conference during those years was loaded. Every year in the Playoffs, the Cavs had to face the Chicago Bulls, Boston Celtics, or the Detroit Pistons – all future NBA champions. During the time the original Dream Team was being selected in the summer of 1992, Price had developed enough to compete with the best point guards in the league especially in three-point shooting, steals, and assists. With Isiah Thomas edged out and John Stockton’s injury leaving a huge question mark on joining the roster, Price felt that his number could have been called up.
“Obviously, I felt good enough to be on that team. But there are so many guys that can be on one team and obviously you can’t– other than the one college player in Christian Laettner– you can’t pick a guy off that first dream team and say that they don’t belong,”Mark Price, Basketball Time Machine
Isiah Thomas, Shaquille O’Neal, Dominique Wilkins, Reggie Miller, and Alonzo Mourning all had a good case of making it on the historical Barcelona Olympic team. Still, Price felt good about his chances compared to all those guys. In the end, Price didn’t make the team and he thinks that the process of selecting the 1992 Dream Team probably hurt his chances.
“Without a tryout process, there wasn’t the option of beating someone out on the court like we have now. With it being handpicked, I definitely felt like I deserved to be on the team.”Mark Price, Bleacher Report
Two years later, Price found himself teaming up along with the original Dream Team snubs to compete in the FIBA World Cup. Just like their predecessors, The Dream Team, they dominated all the way to take home the gold medal.
“There are a lot of guys like myself who were picked for Dream Team II can make a case as well. It is what it is and I have great respect for all those guys that were on that team and there were on that team. There weren’t spots for everybody.”Mark Price, Bleacher Report
So why did Price fall through the cracks of history? Guys like John Stockton started their rise, while Price spent most of his time recovering from injuries in the 90s. We may not mention Mark Price as one of the best point guards of that era, but it doesn’t mean he’s completely forgotten.
Price is in the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame and the basketball arena in Enid High School is named after him. Mark Price, one of the original 50-40-90 guys.