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Dream Team 25: A Look Back

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#12 John Stockton (Guard)

John Stockton

It’s fitting that we next discuss John Stockton, because he and Karl Malone were a package deal. As leaders of the Utah Jazz, the two formed one of the most prolific duos in NBA history. Stockton was selected over the likes of Isiah Thomas because of his pinpoint passing, deceptive defense and the fact that he wasn’t hated league-wide (the most important factor). He would be tasked with running point for the second unit of the Dream Team and would have been a terrific asset had a hand injury not severely limited his playing time. Not often heralded as one of the game’s greats, Stockton is in a class with just a few point guards. He was a ten-time All-Star, 11-time All-NBA team member and a five-time All-Defensive team member. Stockton would retire in 2003 as the all-time NBA leader in assists and steals (as in more than anyone who has ever played basketball) and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2009.

#13 Chris Mullin (Forward)

Chris Mullin

Criminally underrated, Chris Mullin made a name from himself in the NBA as the head of the Run TMC trio for the Golden State Warriors. Known for their scoring prowess and fast-paced offense the trio endeared itself in the hearts of many NBA fans. Viewed as the leader of that unit, Mullin was selected to the Dream Team for his volume scoring and shooting efficiency. Tasked with coming off the bench it was his job to provide spacing and a three-point threat for the second unit. Mullin responded by, leading all Dream Team players in 3-point percentage (54%) and being the fourth leading scorer (12.9) for the squad.  Not as decorated as many of his teammates Mullin still managed to put together a solid NBA career. A five-time All-Star and four-time All-NBA honoree, Mullin was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2011.

#14 Charles Barkley (Forward)

Charles Barkley

The wild card of the Dream Team, many were skeptical of sending Charles Barkley to the 1992 Olympics as an ambassador for the USA and NBA. Not exactly a role model throughout his career, the selection committee was worried about a series of incidents from Barkley on and off the court. Desperately wanting to be a part of the Dream Team, Barkley had a conversation with the committee, assuring them that he would not be a problem and was thus named to the squad. For the most part Barkley was a model citizen on and off the court, (sans one elbow to a member of the Angola Basketball team, though Barkley maintains his was elbowed first and was simply returning the favor). He would lead the Dream Team in scoring (18.0 PPG) and three-point percentage (88%) while also bringing intensity and physicality to the squad. Off the court Barkley could always be found walking the streets of Barcelona, mingling with fans and other Olympians from all-around the globe. Though he’s constantly teased about his lack of rings, Barkley amassed one of the finest NBA careers in league history. An 11-time All-Star, 11-time All-NBA team member and MVP of the league in 1993, the ring was the only thing missing from his trophy case.  Barkley would go on to be inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2006.

#15 Magic Johnson (Guard)

Magic Johnson

For Earvin “Magic” Johnson, the 1992 Olympics were meant to serve as reintroduction to the game of basketball. Forced into an early retirement due to learning that he had contracted the HIV virus. After making a cameo appearance in the 1992 All-Star game, Magic put all of his focus into being ready to play for the Dream Team. Named co-captain of the team, along with Larry Bird, Magic played a vital role to the squad. In addition to being a consistent morale booster, Magic helped bring the proper competiveness out of his teammates. He would serve as the main foil to Michael Jordan in practice. The two would lead teams for scrimmages that have been described as “the greatest games we’ll never get to see.” The battles served as a passing of the torch but also helped get the members of the Dream Team in the proper mindset for competition. Serving as the lead point guard for the team, Magic dazzled with his passing, reminding viewers of his contributions to the “Showtime” Lakers of the 80’s. Though his career was cut short Magic still left the game as one of the best of all time. Earning 10 All-NBA selections, three league MVP’s and leading the Lakers to five NBA Championships. Magic was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2002.

The Dream Team is the measuring stick by which we grade Olympic basketball, until the end of time we will look back at this team in amazement. Not just because of the style and grace that they played with, but because of the difference they made around the world. Basketball is a universal language and the Dream Team spoke to not only the United States but to the whole world. Look at any of your favorite international players and the chances are high that they fell in love with basketball because of the Dream Team.

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