The 1992 “Dream Team” had so much talent on the roster that some pundits initially thought the players wouldn’t co-exist. However, led by Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson’s stout leadership, the United States Men’s Olympic basketball team developed incredible chemistry and cruised to the gold medal in Barcelona.
Most basketball fans know that Detroit Pistons legendary tactician Chuck Daly was the head coach of the “Dream Team.” However, some people tend to forget that Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski was an assistant coach.
Since Jordan went to North Carolina, Krzyzewski was a little nervous about working with the Chicago Bulls legend due to UNC and Duke’s heated rivalry. However, not only did the two men get along, but Jordan asked Krzyzewski for help during a practice that helped set the organizational structure of the group.
Michael Jordan averaged 14.9 points per game for the ‘Dream Team’
Michael Jordan averaged 14.9 points per game for the “Dream Team.” He shot 45.1% from the field and was the only player to start all eight Olympic games.
The “Dream Team” defeated Angola, Croatia (twice), Germany, Brazil, Spain, Puerto Rico, and Lithuania to take home the gold medal. The United States defeated Croatia in the gold medal game.
While Jordan was the face of the “Dream Team,” Charles Barkley led the team in scoring at 18.0 points per game. Chuck shot an efficient 71.1% overall and was unguardable in the post.
Jordan won two straight NBA titles heading into the 1992 Olympics with the Bulls, while Mike Krzyzewski led Duke to two consecutive NCAA men’s basketball championships. Despite being the best coach in college basketball, he was still nervous about being an assistant on the “Dream Team.”
However, Jordan made Krzyzewski feel comfortable and useful by asking him for help after the team’s first practice.
Michael Jordan gave Mike Krzyzewski a chance to have an ego
After the “Dream Team’s” first practice, Michael Jordan went over to Mike Krzyzewski and asked him to work with him on some offensive sets. The Bulls superstar treated “Coach K” with respect and gave him a chance to have an ego.
During an interview with Graham Bensinger in 2010, Krzyzewski talked about how that interaction with Jordan helped set the organizational structure of the “Dream Team.”
“I actually think it was his way of making me feel comfortable,” Krzyzewski said. “But he said, ‘coach’ and he said, ‘please’ and when it was over, he said, ‘thanks.’ He gave me a chance to have an ego, and then he called me with respect. There was no organizational chart where he was the top guy, and I’m here on the bottom. On his team, everybody was important.”
That small interaction between Jordan and Krzyzewski was the MVP’s way of showing no one was bigger than anyone else on the “Dream Team.” It’s a moment Krzyzewski will never forget and believes was vital to the success of the entire group.
1992 was a banner year for MJ
No one in pro sports had a better year than Michael Jordan in 1992. His Airness won the 1991-92 MVP Award, led the Bulls to the championship over the Portland Trail Blazers, won Finals MVP, and took home the gold medal at the Olympics.
Jordan averaged 30.1 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 6.1 assists during the 1991-92 NBA season. The Bulls won 67 games and defeated the Blazers in six games in the ’92 Finals. MJ put up 35.8 points, 4.8 boards, and 6.5 assists versus Portland to win Finals MVP.
Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference.