Just four days before the start of the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, Chuck Daly's Dream Team were finishing their preparations in Monte Carlo and it was that July 22, when a final practice was carried out that would end up going down in history.
"[It was the] greatest game I've ever played in, said Michael Jordan years later, regarding the scrimmage that Wednesday in the Principality of Monaco.
What exactly happened? To finalise preparations for the Games, head coach Chuck Daly intended to have a tough practice session at game intensity. For that, he organized a 5 vs 5 duel and to balance the competitiveness he put Michael Jordan on team and Magic Johnson on the other, the two leaders of the team.
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And of course, even while Magic was already retired from the NBA, after having announced a few months before that he was HIV-positive, the Lakers star was still a dazzling figure. Meanwhile, Jordan had established himself as the best player in the league, coming off two NBA championships with the Chicago Bulls.
The practice could have had 11 future Halls of Famers, but the injuries prevented John Stockton and Clyde Drexler from being in the game. Instead, that number was lowered to 9, with college star Christian Laettner being the only one not to be part of that select group immortalised in Springfield.
For Jordan's White Team, he was joined by sidekick Scottie Pippen and Larry Bird, who by then had already played his last NBA game and two explosive big men in Karl Malone and Patrick Ewing.
Meanwhile, Johnson's Blue Team featured Chris Mullin, Laettner and big men Charles Barkley and David Robinson.
The game match was even more competitive than Daly expected, with Magic not willing to give up his place as the captain of the Dream Team, despite having a clearly superior player like MJ in front of him.
The Blue team got out to a quick lead, but in the end the White prevailed, 40-36.
According to Jack McCallum's Dream Team book, Jordan was the game's leading scorer with 17 points, followed by Malone (9) and Pippen (8). The Blue team were led by Barkley's 11 points, followed by Laettner with 10 points.
Hours later, already in Barcelona, Team USA would begin their quest at the Olympics, going on to change the history of international basketball forever, on their way to the gold medal. However, for their squad, the most demanding game had already been left behind in Monte Carlo.
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