Gary Payton was fascinated by Scottie Pippen during the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta

Gary Payton was fascinated by Scottie Pippen during the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta

US Dream Team, which played in the 1996 Olympics, is often neglected as one of the best teams ever even though it was almost equally dominant as the original ‘Dream Team‘ that played in the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona. The second Dream Team also featured several players who already played in Barcelona. Still, several other NBA stars were added to that team, which did an outstanding job of promoting basketball on an international scene.

One player that participated in both Olympics and made a substantial impact on the tournament was none other than Scottie Pippen. By 1996, Pippen established himself as one of the most versatile players globally, capable of doing extraordinary things on both ends of the floor.

His teammate Gary Payton recognized Pippen’s value on the team and shared many compliments on behalf of Pippen’s ability to score, rebound, shot, and defend several positions on the floor. Payton, who was also known as a versatile player, said Pippen’s impact on the court adds value to any team, and he was able to witness it live during their campaign on the 1996 Olympics.

“He does so many things. What people don’t understand is that he just doesn’t have one dimension to his game. He can rebound, he can pound the ball, he can shoot the ball, go to the basket. There are not many guys in the NBA or in the world who can do that. You wish you could play with a guy like that all the time.”

Gary Payton

During those eight games on the tournament, Pippen averaged 11 points, four rebounds, three assists, and 1.4 steals per game, shooting exceptionally well from the field. Pippen’s performance at the Olympics was fascinating because he just finished a long and historic season with the Chicago Bulls. They won 72 regular-season games and beat the Seattle Supersonics in six-game series for their fourth championship. During the tournament, Pippen proved why he is still, to this day, considered one of the best forwards in NBA history.