NEW YORK –There had never been a basketball team like the one that climbed onto the Barcelona Olympics gold medal dais in 1992.
Now the members of the Dream Team are ready to stand together again – as Hall of Famers.
Already inducted as individuals, Michael Jordan, Larry Bird and Magic Johnson will be enshrined as teammates on Friday as the highlight of this year’s class.
With a group of NBA superstars, the Americans rolled to gold in Barcelona, taking basketball’s popularity to unprecedented heights.
Dream Teamers Scottie Pippen and Karl Malone also will be enshrined as individuals. The 1960 US Olympic gold medalists – a powerhouse in their own right with Jerry West and Oscar Robertson – also will be inducted during the ceremony at Symphony Hall in Springfield, Massachusetts.
“They’re well deserving as going in as a team,” Hall of Fame chairman of the board Jerry Colangelo said of the 1960 squad. “The Dream Team speaks for itself. It’s a tremendous class overall.”
It also includes Los Angeles Lakers owner Jerry Buss; Cynthia Cooper, the WNBA’s first superstar; and Bob Hurley, the longtime coach of St. Anthony’s High School in Jersey City, New Jersey.
Brazilian Maciel “Ubiratan” Pereira, Dennis Johnson – whom Bird has called his greatest teammate – and former Baltimore Bullets star Gus Johnson will be enshrined posthumously.
The United States sent the Dream Team to Spain after failing to win gold with university players in 1988. A FIBA rule the following year opened the door for professionals to be used in the Olympics, and the US team was loaded with the best.