In Episode 5 of “The Last Dance,” the legendary run of the Dream Team at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics was chronicled. Chiefly, their intense practices.
And why wouldn’t even their exhibition runs be contentious? That squad is the consensus greatest basketball team ever assembled, consisting of 11 Hall of Famers, most of them at or near their prime, and all competitive as hell.
Patrick Ewing added to the lore in an interview with FOX Sports’ Andy Katz:
“The practices, those were the real games… Michael wanted to make sure that Magic knew that it was his time.”@CoachEwing33 joins @theandykatz to break down those infamous Dream Team practices and the Bulls-Knicks rivalry ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/9kBxmri0vC— FOX College Hoops (@CBBonFOX) May 6, 2020
“The other games against everybody else, we were just dominating. We were dominating everybody,” Ewing told Katz. “We were just that dominant of a team. But the practices, those were the real games.
“Michael and Magic joshing to see who’s gonna take over the reins and Michael wanted to make sure that Magic knew that it’s his time. You know you had Karl Malone and Charles going at it; myself and David Robinson, we’re battling each other; Bird he was hurt so even though he couldn’t fully participate he was still on the sideline talking trash.”
Indeed, the Dream Team’s staunchest competition at the time was themselves. As NBC Sports’ Tom Haberstroh enumerated back in April, the Dream Team averaged a 43.8 margin of victory at the 1992 Games, with a 68-point rout of Angola at their high water mark.
So it makes sense that the closest these guys ever came to sweating a game out was in practice. The snippet we got of the legendary Magic vs. Jordan scrimmage was enthralling, but man, who wouldn’t pay to see all those battles Ewing laid out above?