In the summer of 1992, Michael Jordan took his talents to Barcelona to play for the United States Dream Team in the Olympics. Along with his Chicago Bulls teammate Scottie Pippen, Jordan was joined by Magic Johnson, Charles Barkley, Chris Mullin, John Stockton, Karl Malone, Clyde Drexler, Larry Bird, Patrick Ewing, David Robinson, and Christian Laettner.
The Dream Team went undefeated in Barcelona and easily won the gold medal. While Jordan presumably enjoyed his time on the Olympic basketball team, he did experience a massive change in his personal life after the Olympics ended.
Michael Jordan and the Dream Team changed everything about international basketball
Even though Barkley led the Dream Team in scoring, Jordan was the face of the squad. The Dream Team changed everything about international basketball, and it’s entirely responsible for the NBA’s profile taking a huge jump forward by shaping how the world felt about the NBA.
Jordan and the Dream Team certainly helped bring sports to a place in which they could have global cultural influence. After the Olympics, Jordan was the most recognizable and popular sports figure in the world. He was officially a global superstar.
Since he was the best player in the NBA, Jordan couldn’t go anywhere in America without being noticed and asked to take pictures or sign autographs. That’s why the Bulls guard enjoyed going out of the country: He could move around like a regular person.
However, that all changed after the 1992 Olympics.
Michael Jordan was no longer unnoticeable in different countries
Before the 1992 Olympics, Jordan could go to Europe with friends and family and walk the streets without getting noticed. However, that was no longer the case after the Dream Team’s tour in Barcelona.
“The Dream Team blew it wide open,” Jordan told the late great John Thompson in 2003. “I think that was when I couldn’t go anywhere in the world and walk the streets. I used to go to Paris or Milan and just walk the streets, and no one would know. I could sit outside with my family and friends and just enjoy. But ever since the Dream Team, things have just totally gone berserk. No matter where I go in Europe, it’s no different than the States.”
While Jordan understood why fans got so excited when they saw him, he likely resented it at times since he had no privacy in public and couldn’t do normal things like eat dinner at a restaurant or go to a shopping mall with his family. In the Last Dance docuseries, the five-time MVP talked about how being stuck in a hotel room on the road is a lifestyle no one would envy.
After winning his third consecutive NBA title in 1993, Jordan retired following the tragic murder of his father. He didn’t get out of the limelight, though, as he decided to play baseball in 1994 and was the most popular minor league player in baseball history.
MJ played for the Birmingham Barons
Jordan appeared in 127 games for the Birmingham Barons in 1994. He hit .202 and drove in 51 runs. He also hit three home runs and stole 30 bases.
If Jordan thought he could escape the spotlight by playing baseball, he was mistaken. He was still signing autographs and taking pictures left and right and didn’t have any privacy when he was out and about in Birmingham, Alabama. According to the Barons’ website, they drew 467,867 fans to home games during the 1994 season, shattering the team’s single-season attendance record. That is what we call the Jordan effect.
Being Jordan has a lot of perks. However, if you are someone who values peace and quiet, you may not enjoy being His Airness.