Twenty-seven years ago today, in 1991, the first 10 players of the famed “Dream Team” were announced. Sports Illustrated unveiled the name on its Feb. 18, 1991, magazine cover and on Sept. 21, 1991, the nation learned the names of the men who would represent Team USA at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Spain.
The squad was collectively known as the “Dream Team” and inspired truly remarkable pieces of art, like the one featured below.
The team roster included Chicago Bulls Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, Utah Jazz stars John Stockton and Karl Malone, Boston Celtic Larry Bird, Golden State Warrior Chris Mullin, Los Angeles Laker Magic Johnson, New York Knick Patrick Ewing, Philadelphia 76er Charles Barkley, and San Antonio Spur David Robinson.
Bird and Johnson became the co-captains of the team. Between those two and Jordan, there were a combined 10 championships, eight regular-season MVPs, seven NBA Finals MVPs and six regular-season scoring leaders over a 13-year span.
Ewing, Jordan, and Mullin already had gold medals from the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, and Robinson was a member of the 1988 team. Johnson’s selection to the team was monumental because in November 1991 he announced that he tested positive for HIV and immediately retired from the Lakers.
There was even some controversy regarding some of the possible team members. Rumor was that Michael Jordan wouldn’t be part of the team if Thomas was also going to be on the team. The heated rivalry with the Pistons and the Bulls became an issue with a gold medal for the United States.
Many people speculated that Thomas was left off the roster because of two major events: Him being considered the leader of a “Bad Boys” team in the late 1980s and early 1990s that physically imposed its will on all its opponents, especially Jordan and the Bulls with the “Jordan Rules,”. Looking back, maybe Thomas should have been on the team over John Stockton.
Of the twelve players on the team, ten were included on 1996’s list of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History.
An interesting fact about this team is that their head coach Chuck Daly did not call a single timeout during the entire 1992 Olympic tournament.