There was so anticipation for the Dream Team heading into the 1992 Summer Olympics which were held in Barcelona. Team USA delivered the hype with a dominating 136-57 victory in its international debut against Cuba.
The win came in the Tournament of the Americas. This was also a qualifying game for the Olympics, but it didn't take long for the Dream Team to show how superior they were compared to every other team out there. Dream Team is still to this day considered to be the greatest collection of talent of all time. They started their journey that summer with a powerful win against Cuba.
Team USA started Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Charles Barkley, and David Robinson, and promptly jumped out to a 20-point lead. Dream Team took advantage of the 3-point line that night, which was 20-6 instead of the standard NBA line of 23-9. For someone like Bird and Mullin, that was like an early Christmas present.
The 79-point victory broke the record set by the 1956 USA men's basketball team led by Bill Russell, which beat Thailand 101-29. Team USA went on to beat Angola 116-48 (68 points) in its Olympic debut, but the 79-point record stood until 2012. Team USA beat Nigeria 156-73 for an 83-point victory in those Olympics.
Clyde Drexler provided the exclamation point to the entire game with a walk-off dunk as the time expired. It was an opening statement in which Team USA stormed through the tournament with an average margin of victory of 51.5 points per game. They would dominate in 1992 Summer Olympics with an average margin of victory of 43.8 points per game.
"I think it's going to be great not only for basketball worldwide, but I think the NBA fans will love to see something like this and be so excited about the team," said Jerry West after the game.
Cuban center Felix Morales said he used to watch these players on TV and how playing against them felt unreal to him.
"I watched them on TV. Just watching them live, that was a big impression for us. We were playing them, against the best. As for me, it was an honor. We saw the scoreboard and it was a logical result, but we did the best we could.”
Cuba’s Angel Caballero was a standout, going chest to chest with Jordan for two to three minutes in a full-court press … with Cuba down 55 in the second half.
“I liked that,” Jordan told the Post. “I took it as a challenge for those few minutes. It didn’t last long. The game was lacking there a little bit. They seemed very tentative, but he was a little aggressive. That was a little change.”
Team USA finished with 41 assists; John Stockton had 12 and Magic Johnson, who retired from the league in 1991 after testing HIV-positive, finished with nine. Larry Bird missed only one of his eight shots for 17 points, and Clyde Drexler amassed 20 points. The team also had a 41-25 rebounding advantage, which led to a number of fast-break points.
Team USA would eventually win the Olympic gold medal in a final game against Croatia.