The Dream Team was such a collection of GOATs that it looked like a whole farm out there. But Charles Barkley and Larry Bird stood out differently even in that league of extraordinary gentlemen.
If we consider pure sporting talent alone, the Dream Team of 1992 is a legitimate contender for the title of the greatest sports team of all time. This was a roster with 11 future Hall of Famers, after all.
With the passage of time – it’s been 29 years since that amazing team took the world by storm – every team sent by USA Basketball to competitive tournaments has featured NBA players. None of them can hold a candle to the legacy of the Dream Team.
Now if Kobe Bryant was alive, we know that he’d put his Redeem Team and London 2012 teams in contention. But if we’re being true to ourselves, we know in our heart of hearts that the Dream Team would prevail. Their size would be too much for the 21st-century teams.
Perhaps the best argument could be made for Jerry West and Oscar Robertson’s 1960 gold medalists. Larry Bird would jokingly compare himself and his teammates to this roster in the Dream Team’s HoF acceptance speech.
Larry Bird singled Charles Barkley out in his Dream Team Hall of Fame induction speech
Anyone who’s followed NBA basketball knows that Larry Legend, the Hick from French Lick, was a bad somebody. This man would first demoralize his opponents with his words and then lay the work on them with his game.
Bird maintained the same energy decades after retirement, both with his words and with his actions. One of the instances, when he entertained basketball fans with his trash talk, was when Magic Johnson invited him to finish off the Dream Team’s Hall of Fame induction speech. Bird’s speech was full of jokes and trash talk:
“It’s like always, he left me 20 seconds. But I just wanna congratulate all the inductees tonight, all of them very well deserving. It’s a special honor to play with these young men.”
“After 1992, which was my last competitive game I ever played in – a pretty good way to go out. Win a gold medal with, well, you can’t say the best team ever assembled, but one of the best teams ever assembled. A cast of characters, the different personalities and then Charles Barkley.”
“But we had a lot of fun. You know, this group of guys here, we had a lot of debate going around about who was the best team. The ones in the 60s or the one in 92.”
“I don’t know who had the best team, but I know the team in 1960 was a hell of a lot tougher than we were. Because I couldn’t imagine the 92 team getting in covered wagons for 8 days.”
“Going across the country, jumped in the Atlantic Ocean, swim for 6 days. Then walking 3000 miles to the Colosseum in Rome for a dollar a day. Thank you!”