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Grant Hill recalls beating the original Dream Team in a scrimmage game: "We already knew that no one would believe us if we told them"

Grant Hill describes what it was like beating the original Dream Team in a scrimmage game and then realizing they achieved something nobody ever thought they would be able to do
Grant Hill recalls competing against the original Dream Team

Grant Hill reflected on that experience in his newly published book

The original Dream Team from the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona is still regarded as the best collection of basketball talent ever assembled, and rightfully so. This team was incredibly dominant and stormed through the Olympics on their way to the gold medal while simultaneously popularizing the sport and establishing a new era for the NBA as the best basketball league in the world. With a star-studded team that featured so many future HOF players, the Dream Team came to the Olympics on a mission they successfully accomplished while dismantling every team they played against on their way to the gold medal.

However, during their preparation for the Olympics, they suffered their only loss, and it was in a scrimmage game against the best college players in the country. Grant Hill, who was a member of that notorious college team and later became an NBA legend in his own right, reflected on that experience in his newly published book under the name Game: An Autobiography.

The college players didn't trash-talked the Dream Team

Hill recalls how there was a huge amount of respect towards the NBA stars on the Dream Team, and the college players weren't even trying to trash-talk them. For the Dream Team, the matchup against college players only served as a simple practice and a way to prepare for the tournament.

"We didn't dare talk trash to them. With one another, we were vocal, encouraging, pushing, believing. The Dream Team is the greatest collection of basketball players ever assembled. It was possible, even probable, that they did not view us as a serious challenge. They were still in the beginning of harmonizing, becoming familiar with one another's traits and habits as they prepared to advance to the Olympics.

The college players felt no pressure, but they were still young enough and, at the same time, bold to challenge the guys they looked up to while growing up. They felt they could do some damage and, in their first game against the Dream Team, managed to come up with a miraculous win that bolstered everyone's morale and self-esteem. After the game was over, Hill remembers how he and Allan Houston returned to their hotel room in awe, realizing what they had just accomplished.

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"Meanwhile, we were college kids, too ignorant to know any better, out for blood. We dominated them pretty badly. We scoffed when the trainers scurried to erase the scoreboard before allowing the gaggle of media inside the gym. Allan and I returned to our hotel room, giddy over not just being in the presence of all that collective greatness—I had taken a picture with David Robinson after the scrimmage like any fan would—but actually beating them."

The biggest accomplishment in their young basketball careers

For Hill personally, that was the biggest accomplishment in his young basketball career, even bigger than the one when he won the NCAA title with Duke. At the end of the day, only a few people can say they played against the original Dream Team and actually beat them in a real game.

"Regardless, winning provided us collegians with one heckuva bragging right. We already knew that no one would believe us if we told them. That scrimmage was probably the highlight of my basketball career to that point, even more than the championships. Those were impressive, but this was the Dream Team"

Obviously, that loss to the college players came as a shock for the members of the Dream Team, who came for vengeance in the upcoming scrimmages. Hill said they absolutely destroyed them, showcasing why they are the best players on this planet, shutting them down on all fronts, and making them feel like they don't even know how to play basketball anymore.

"They destroyed us over the next few scrimmages. Jordan and Scottie Pippen alternated guarding Bobby. They used their length and quickness to choke him out of the driving lanes. Allan's shot wasn't as true. I turned the ball over. All of a sudden it's like we couldn't dribble and walk at the same time."

Even though Hill had an astonishing college and NBA career, he believes that the win he and his college teammates achieved that day in the scrimmage was the most impactful one because it gave them the confidence they could compete on the highest level. For many of them from that college team, that was the case when they turned pro because they also left their mark in the NBA, making numerous All-Star appearances, with some even making it to the Hall of Fame. 

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