The 1992 United States Men’s Basketball team, also known as the Dream Team, easily won the gold medal behind the spectacular play of Charles Barkley, Michael Jordan, Karl Malone, Chris Mullin, Clyde Drexler, Patrick Ewing, Scottie Pippen, David Robinson, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Christian Laettner, and John Stockton. They went undefeated, with their closest outing being a 32-point victory over Toni Kukoc and Croatia in the gold medal game.
The 1992 Olympics took place in Barcelona, Spain. The Dream Team players enjoyed their time in the cosmopolitan capital of Spain’s Catalonia region, especially Jordan, who played a lot of golf during his free time and showed his teammates he was a “freak of nature.”
Michael Jordan showed David Robinson he was freak of nature
Jordan loved playing 36 holes of golf during his spare time. He played several games with Dream Team coach Chuck Daly and once played a round with Robinson before an Olympic game and still dominated on the hardwood despite having every excuse in the world to be tired.
“The thing that I remember the most was going out and playing golf with Michael Jordan before a game, and I thought I’m gonna be exhausted tonight,” Robinson said during The Dream Team documentary in 2012. “Michael just had ridiculous energy and was phenomenal. I felt like I was running in quicksand a little bit. So, it gave me a whole ‘nother level of respect for kind of the freak of nature that he really is.”
Along with playing golf, Jordan, Johnson, and Barkley played hours and hours of cards into the wee hours in their hotel rooms. Assistant Dream Team coach Mike Krzyzewski wondered when the Chicago Bulls superstar slept, but he never bothered MJ since he knew what he would get from him on the basketball floor.
Michael Jordan was Dream Team’s second-leading scorer
Jordan was the Dream Team’s second-leading scorer behind Barkley. The six-time NBA champion averaged 14.9 points while shooting 45.1% from the field. He also played tremendous defense, especially on Kukoc in the first game against Croatia.
The Dream Team averaged 117.3 points while giving up only 73.5 points per game. Jordan finished the Olympics with 119 points, 19 rebounds, 38 assists, 33 steals, and four blocks. He won his second gold medal and had the honor of holding the American flag while the team received the gold medal, although it wasn’t for patriotic reasons.
Reebok made the Dream Team’s garment. Since he was with Nike, though, Jordan covered up the Reebok logo with the American flag during the gold medal ceremony, once again showing how competitive and petty he is.
Jordan used the rest of the summer of 1992 to relax his body after exerting so much energy. Despite being mentally and emotionally exhausted heading into the 1992-93 season, His Airness still had a marvelous campaign.
MJ led NBA in scoring and won third straight title
Jordan played in 78 games during the 1992-93 season. He averaged 32.6 points and led the Bulls to 57 wins. Chicago defeated the Atlanta Hawks, Cleveland Cavaliers, and New York Knicks in the Eastern Conference playoffs to advance to the NBA Finals for the third consecutive season.
Barkley and the Phoenix Suns stood in Jordan’s way of winning his third straight title. Despite Chuck winning the 1992-93 MVP and Phoenix having the best record in the league, nothing would stop Jordan from coming out on top. He put up 41.0 points per game in the ’93 Finals and led the Bulls to a six-game series win.
Following the tragic murder of his father in the summer of ’93, Jordan retired from the NBA to play baseball. However, he returned to the Bulls in 1994-95 and won three more scoring titles, two more MVPs, three more championships, and more Finals MVPs.
Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference.