The original 'Dream Team' from the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona is still considered the best basketball squad ever assembled. When you look at the legendary names that played for this team, you can't help to realize why they get so much credit for popularising the sport and making the NBA a global league and an iconic brand. A big part of that popularity was also because of Michael Jordan, who by 1992 established himself by far the best player in the world.
Jordan was already an icon before the Olympics in Barcelona
Jordan was a 29-year-old MVP at the time, coming off his second championship, and pretty much had a royalty status among NBA fans. However, even though he ultimately accepted the team concept, Chuck Daly wanted to achieve with the team; according to Jamal Mashburn, it was evident he was the most dominant player out there.
While appearing on the Knuckleheads podcast, former NBA player Jamal Mashburn shared what it was like competing against the Dream Team. Mashburn was a member of the all-star college squad that played a few scrimmages against the Dream Team and is the only team that ever beat them in a real game.
Mashburn details the difference between Jordan and everyone else in the NBA
Having the opportunity to see and play against all those NBA legends in one place was a great learning experience for Mashburn but seeing Jordan do what he does best was the best part of that opportunity.
"(92 Olympics) that's when I saw the difference between Michael Jordan and all of those other hall of famers. When you watched them (Dream Team) play and they scrimmaged amongst themselves, if you didn't know anything about the game, you'd say, a yo, that bald black dude… he's the best player. He made them look like they were high school players and he was in the pros, that was the gap. He was that great."
Jamal Mashburn, via The Knuckleheads Podcast
Even though Jordan wasn't nominally the best player on that squad during the Olympics, that tournament also showcased he was all about team success over anything. Winning the gold medal was a perfect ending to a perfect season for Jordan while showcasing his greatness on the world's biggest stage.