The 1992 USA Dream Team must be the greatest basketball team ever assembled. They brought together big legends from the 80s and people that would rule the NBA in the 90s.
It was the perfect balance of talent and dominance, even though some people think they should have taken one or two different players for the 1992 Summer Olympic Games. Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, and a young Michael Jordan led the way, forming a Big 3 among some of the greatest players of all time.
This was a match made in heaven, but it wasn't as easy to complete as many people think. In fact, Magic had to use his recruitment talents to get to Michael Jordan and Larry Bird, two players who weren't that interested in playing for the Dream Team.
Andrew Gamble of Mirror explains the process behind teaming up with MJ and Larry Legend. He had to work hard and use his charm to get to Bird and Jordan. His friendship with the Boston Celtics legend eased the work for him, but not before he explained that Bird would have to do nothing.
“All you have to do is go stand in the corner or stand at the top of the key, you don’t have to do nothing else - I’m going to get you the ball, all you have to do is shoot it and make it,” Magic recalls telling Bird. “You can still do that, can’t you?”
As for Jordan, it wasn't that smooth. He had to convince Michael that he planned to team up with him and Larry, and Michael finally gave in.
Johnson admitted convincing Jordan was the far harder prospect. He hadn’t yet cultivated a relationship with the young guard in the same way he had developed alongside Bird, so Magic got to work on the future six-time NBA champion.
“Listen man, it’s been on my bucket list to play with you and Larry - and we’re going to have fun being with each other because we had never really hung out like that,” Magic told Jordan. “I had to work on him, but finally he said yes.”
Still, that didn't mean everything would be cordial between the players. They wanted to win, but Mike was on a mission, studying his teammates' weaknesses for the future while telling Johnson and Bird that he was in charge of the NBA now.
“He wanted to prove he was back,” said Jordan. “I wanted to prove to him that there’s new kids on the block.”
“I never wanted them to think like they had to carry me - the other nine games - and so the practices were probably the best basketball I’ve ever played in my life!” Magic quipped.
Magic wanted to feel like he still got it and that whatever he did with his life after that, he was in a good place.
“When you leave sports, it’s really not about the games,” Johnson revealed. “It’s about being one of the guys - and I needed to be one of the guys one more time.”
It's interesting to see that one of the best teams ever assembled was close to never happening. If Johnson didn't get the call from David Stern after getting an HIV diagnosis, he wouldn't have carried the job of landing Jordan and Bird, and we would have never seen that magical team dominate everybody in the Olympics.