BallinEurope continues with its look back at 1992 through the YouTube scope with a rundown of players on that Team USA of legend, a.k.a. The Dream Team. This of course means highlight clips of some of the greatest ever to have played the game … enjoy!

To start this one off, a personal reminiscence … the announcement of the long-awaited “Dream Team” roster was one of the great “Where Were You When” sports moments of my 20s. In early 1990s America, we had no internet and maybe three sports TV networks to choose from. Really speedy rumors traveled by fax machine and speculative chatter was relegated to sports talk radio.

Needless to say, in 1992, the Team USA basketball selection team was able to keep a tight cap on their priceless information – the superteam roster – until evening-edition newspapers were printed and local/prime-time news shows were ready to air. Crazy.

Sure, there were rumors. We heard Magic Johnson was being discussed, though he’d retired after the 1991-92 NBA season after announcing his HIV-positive condition. We heard Larry Bird might not play, in line with his intention to retire from the game after the playoffs. We heard bizarre stuff about Michael Jordan demanding that Isiah Thomas be excluded from the team.

But we didn’t know, y’know?

Over at the local weekly newspaper where this writer began his own pro career, we received one of those glorious faxes emblazoned with a big ol’ USA Olympic team logo. The announcement? That there would be an announcement of the team roster at 7pm EST.

So me and a bunch of friends went out of our way to watch our local news that September 21. Sure enough, the pleased-as-punch sports reporter led off the show. (Why was he pleased as punch? Do you know how often the sports guy at an Albuquerque, New Mexico TV station gets a story big enough to start the news? Like, never.) Giddily, his report went something like “The US Olympic Committee has announced the roster for the men’s basketball team that will participate in the 2012 games. And it includes Larry and Magic. And Michael. And Stockton and Malone…”

The picture then changed to that list of the first 10 inclusions to the team … the glorious dozen minus Clyde Drexler and Christian Laettner (while we heard speculation for months about Isiah, Joe Dumars, Shaquille O’Neal, etc.) – and our minds were blown.

It’s simply impossible to impart precisely the excitement of seeing what would become universally known as The Greatest Ever, of having that team’s games in front of us as the imagination bubbled over with the possibilities … but perhaps we can relive some of that excitement today through the miracle of YouTube.

Below runs a baker’s dozen of Dream Team member highlight clips. Text from Magic Johnson’s speech in Springfield upon the Dreamers’ induction into the Professional Basketball Hall of Fame; soundtrack by Ice Cube, Run DMC, Green Day, Kronos Quartet, and others.

“I want to thank Charles Barkley as he really dominated the play and was our best player in all those games…

“I want to thank Patrick Ewing for that beautiful jump shot…

David Robinson for controlling the middle and making sure nobody came down there…

“I want to thank John Stockton for always being under control and throwing the prettiest bounce passes of anybody…

“I want to thank Karl Malone, as he went down the middle and everybody just moved out of the way and said ‘No way am I taking this charge’…

“I want to thank Clyde Drexler, as he took off so well in the air and just glided like Clyde the Glide that he was…

“Then I want to thank Chris Mullin as he shot with the left hand and it was all net every single time and then he would do it one more time…

“I want to thank Scottie Pippen, as he shut down five guys on the team. Scottie wanted to play everybody and he did play everybody…

“Last but not least, [Larry Bird] … it was a joy to be alongside you…

“I remember Michael Jordan … we were sitting there and he took a puff of his cigar. And he said, ‘Larry and Magic, you had your run, but there’s a new sheriff in town.”

“And Christian Laettner, I didn’t forget about you…”

Tomorrow: A European Dream Team for ‘92

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