Dream Team 25: A Look Back
#8 Scottie Pippen (Forward)
The funny thing about Scottie Pippen’s selection to the Dream Team, was that he didn’t feel as though he belonged on the squad. A fact he wouldn’t share until recently. Though he may not have felt it, Pippen 100% deserved his spot on the team. Fresh off of his second consecutive NBA Championship, Pippen was widely regarded as one of the league’s stingiest defenders and brightest stars. He would be tasked with bringing that defensive intensity to the floor for the Dream Team. Consistently asked to wear down the opposing team’s best player, Pippen responded to the task in spades. The numbers won’t show the profound impact that Pippen had on the floor in the Olympics (though he did lead the team in assist), but his teammates universally praised his efforts. For his career Pippen would go to be named a seven-time All-Star, ten-time All-Defensive team member and a six-time NBA Champion. After retiring in 2004, Pippen was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2010.
#9 Michael Jordan (Guard)
At the time of his selection (and every day after), Michael Jordan was commonly regarded as the best basketball player in the world. Fresh off back-to-back NBA championships, six-consecutive scoring titles and his third league MVP award Jordan was undoubtedly the face of the NBA. He was selected to be the face and captain of the Dream Team, a role he actually declined. Believing that Magic Johnson and Larry Bird both deserved the role more. Jordan just wanted to play, have a chance to hang out with guys who had always been his adversaries and play golf. He wanted to play lots of golf and to ensure that he could, Chuck Daily actually scheduled Dream Team practices around Jordan’s tee times. Always the best player on the floor (for either team), Jordan would play the role of Swiss army knife for the Dream Team. He provided the squad with whatever they needed on a nightly basis, leading the team in steals per game (4.6), the second leading scorer per night (14.9) and third in assists and blocks per game (4.8 and 0.8). We all know what would become of Jordan post Dream Team. Six-time NBA Champion, ten-time scoring champion, five league MVP’s and six Finals MVP’s, to name a few. Jordan would go into the Hall of Fame in 2009 (source of the crying Jordan meme as well as one of the finest speeches you’ll ever hear).
#10 Clyde Drexler (Guard)
One of the final members named to the Dream Team (along with Christian Laettner), Clyde Drexler was to serve as the primary backup to Michael Jordan on the squad. Marveled for his time with the Portland Trail Blazers, at the time of his selection Drexler was best known for his scoring ability and calm nature. Two assets that would make his integration into the squad seamless. Mostly coming off the bench, Drexler helped keep the pace fast and provided a much-needed scoring spark for the team. Drexler would go on to earn to ten All-Star bids, five All-NBA selections and even managed to snag a ring in 1995 as a member of the Houston Rockets. For all of his efforts on the court, he would be inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2004.
#11 Karl Malone (Forward)
Like many of his Dream Team teammates, Karl Malone was just happy to be selected to the team. Going as far as to joke that he didn’t care whether he was the first person called or the last called as long as he got selected. Rest assure, Malone was one of the first players called for the Dream Team. The leader of the Utah Jazz, Malone was at the top of his game and few could match his command of the post (the ones that could were also selected to the Dream Team). Splitting time as the starting power forward with Charles Barkley, Malone’s job was to impose his will on opposing teams. Beat them up in the post, rebound and get to the free throw line. He would excel in the role, leading the Dream Team in rebounding (5.3), free throws made and attempted (24/32). Malone would retire in 2004, and finished his career as one of the most decorated players of all time. The 14-time All-NBA team member and two-time MVP also etched his name in the record books as the player with the second most points in history. Malone would be inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2010.