The 1992 Dream Team did not have any set starting five. Every player on the Dream Team except Christian Laettner and John Stockton started some of the games in the Olympics and Micheal Jordan started every game. The starting five for the Gold Medal game were Jordan, Magic Johnson, Charles Barkley, Karl Malone and Patrick Ewing.
Who were the twelve members of the 1992 Dream Team?
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After the 1988 Olympics in which the United States lost to Russia, FIBA, the international basketball association, voted to allow NBA players in the Olympics. Sports Illustrated put out an issue calling the forthcoming team the Dream Team in February of 1991.
In September of that year the initial ten members of the Dream Team were chosen. They were:
- Michael Jordan
- Scottie Pippen
- John Stockton
- Karl Malone
- Magic Johnson
- Larry Bird
- Charles Barkley
- Patrick Ewing
- David Robinson
- Chris Mullin
In May of 1992, USA Basketball chose the last two players to be part of the team. One was to be a college player in an homage to the amatuer past of the Olympics, while the other would be the last player chosen from the NBA. Those players were:
- Clyde Drexler
- Christian Laettner
Who were the Dream Team Starting 5?
Coach Chuck Daly did not go with one, set starting lineup. The team had little competition from its opponents and all players, with the exception of Laettner, had a compelling argument for starting.
Stockton, who was hurt, only played in 4 games and this likely explains his lack of starts. The rest of the NBA players all started some of the games.
In the Gold medal game vs Venezuela, Daly started Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Charles Barkley, Karl Malone and Patrick Ewing. The games were not competitive as the Dream Team won that contest by 47. The closest match, vs Puerto Rico in the semifinals, was decided by 38.
Who was the best player on the Dream Team?
While any sports discussion can lead to disagreements, I don’t believe it is very controversial to say that Michael Jordan was the best player on the Dream Team. Jordan is widely considered either the best player to ever live or very close to it.
There are those who want to argue in favor of Lebron James as the greatest ever. I will not attempt to enter that argument here. Instead, I will just note that LeBron was not on the 1992 Dream Team and Jordan was.
The only other players on the Dream Team to ever be seriously discussed as the greatest player ever are Bird and Magic. Mostly though, those who argued for Magic or Bird as the greatest ever came around to accepting Jordan as their superior.
So Michael Jordan was the best player on the 1992 Dream Team. He did not have the best Olympic games, however. That player would be Charles Barkley.
Charles Barkley led the Dream Team in scoring at 16 points per game, rebounding at 6.7 per game and in steals with 10 total. Barkley also led the team in quotes. When asked what he knew about Angola, Barkley said…
“I don’t know anything about Angola,but Angola’s in trouble.”Charles Barkley
How many Hall of Famers were on the 1992 Dream Team?
In one sense, every player and coach on the team are in the Hall of Fame, because the team itself was selected for the Hall of Fame. The enshrinement speech is below.
Assuming you are asking how many of the players on the 1992 Dream Team were inducted into the Hall of Fame as individual players, the answer is 11. All of the NBA players were eventually inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame.
Christian Laettner never became the star in the NBA that he was in college. He did play 13 seasons in the league, so he was the washout some might believe. But his college exploits far outweighed his NBA accomplishments.
Laettner was inducted in the College Basketball Hall of Fame for plays like the one below.
Who was left off the 1992 Dream Team?
One player who was not invited to be on the Dream Team was Isaiah Thomas. It was widely believed at the time, and later mostly confirmed, that Michael Jordan did not want to play with Thomas.
Thomas was the leader of the late 80’s Bad Boys Pistons teams who had been physically rough with Jordan while defending him in the playoffs.
A 2012 book on the dream team claimed Jordan went to USA basketball selection committee member Rod Thorn and asked flat out if Thomas was playing, implying that he, Jordan, would not be if Thomas were.
In the 2020 documentary The Last Dance Jordan claimed that he never mentioned Isaiah’s name directly, but that it was understood how he felt.
Magic Johnson, who seemingly got along with everybody, came out publicly in support of Isaiah after he had been left off of the first ten players selected. Many years later, Magic said that he knew Isaiah wouldn’t be selected because he had too many enemies on the team.
Why was Hakeem Olajuwon not on the 1992 Dream Team?
Unlike Isaiah Thomas, Hakeem Olajuwon was not snubbed by USA Basketball. Instead, he was ineligible for the team.
Olajuwon was not yet a U.S. citizen in 1992. He did not become a citizen of the United States until 1993, thus he was not a candidate for the 1992 Dream Team.
Olajuwon applied for a FIBA exemption in order to compete for the U.S. in the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta. He needed the exemption because he had competed for a Nigerian junior team as a youth and rules prohibited competing for more than one country in international competition.
Olajuwon was given the exemption and earned a gold medal for the U.S. Basketball team in 1996.
The 1992 Dream Team had such an amazing collection of players that coach Chuck Daly never needed to pick a starting five. Michael Jordan started every game but the rest of the players shared starting duties mostly equally with the exception of an injured John Stockton and the sole college player, Christian Laettner.
I have been a Boston sports fan for more than forty years. I write about games, players and seasons from the past.