A little history lesson for you non-sports fans out there: After the 1988 Olympic men’s basketball team won a disappointing bronze medal at the games, the International Basketball Federation determined that it was time to let pro players in on the fun.
Enter the original Dream Team, the 1992 men’s Olympic squad that gave one of the most dominating performances in the history of modern sports. They also won gold, by the way. The team included such legends at Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, Larry Bird and Magic Johnson.
Twenty years later, the latest incarnation of the Dream Team hopes to win big at this year’s games in London.
Recently, we spoke to Clyde “The Glide” Drexler, a member of the ’92 squad, about the challenges facing a team and a coach when taking a bunch of NBA stars and putting them together on an Olympic team. He said he isn’t too worried.
“Whenever you have guys who are really good at what they do, a lot of times they’re good because they’re intelligent,” he says. “One thing the coaching staff has to do is kind of define roles within that team structure. And the players will buy in and do whatever it takes necessary to win, because you’ve got to put your egos aside for the betterment of the team.”
Wondering just how those Dream Team players’ professional paychecks stack up? We put together this chart that shows the salaries of the players on both the 1992 and 2012 teams. Just to compare, today’s top-paid player, Kobe Bryant, makes five times as much as David Robinson, the highest-paid in ’92. (You can adjust for inflation here.)
Still, the 1992 Dream Team does beat the squad of today in one measure: overall number of NBA championship wins.
Katie Long, Mary Dooe, and Daryl Paranada contributed to this report.