June 13 is the day we finally get to see a team full of the best players of all-time lose to a bunch of college kids who would go on to be great players in their own right. Judging by the trailer, it’s going to be great. Set your DVRs tonight, just so you don’t accidentally miss it.
But since that’s still a couple days away, we’ll have to make due with Lang Whitaker’s awesome oral history of the Dream Team, which includes an account of that very game. The description of the game is amazing, but the college players’ reaction is even better.
Craig Miller (USA Basketball director of public relations): Coach Daly told the college team coaches he wanted them to play like international players, so when they got near the three-point line, just jack it.
Allan Houston: We were asked to play a style that they hadn’t really seen a lot of yet. We figured we had nothing to lose. So we go in there, and Penny gets a couple dunks. I remember hitting a couple of shots. Everybody’s kind of flowing.
Penny Hardaway (college squad player): They just thought, “Okay, they got these young guys to give us a little warm-up. We’re going to beat them up a little bit, sign a couple autographs, and then everybody go on about their merry way.” They didn’t know how talented we really were.
Brian McIntyre (NBA vice president of public relations): Penny had a couple of steals at midcourt, and everyone was going, “Whoa.” There was—I can still feel it—there was tension. First day!
Charles Barkley (Team USA power forward): The first time we saw them, they looked like babies. We were like, “Hey, man, let’s don’t kill these little kids.” And they were playing like it was Game 7. Before we knew it, they upset us.
Houston: The clock ran out—we had a twenty-minute clock—and we were up. And everybody looked around sheepishly, like, This is not supposed to happen. Nobody said anything for a few minutes.
Karl Malone: We took them for granted, and they kicked our butt. And Coach Daly just had that look on his face like, “Well, this is what we told you guys. You gotta be ready.” After that, we was chomping at the bit to play them again that same day, but he didn’t let us. He let us stew on it a little bit.
Chris Webber: When we busted their ass, they didn’t say any prima donna stuff—”We let you win.” That night was special. I remember me and Bobby Hurley decimating the golf course on some golf carts because we were so excited.
As the story goes, and is confirmed here, the next day the college team didn’t score a point, which is a perfect ending to this anecdote. However, I’d never heard the stuff about shooting a ton of threes, Penny Hardaway going off to start the game and then a couple of dudes destroying a golf court by wilding out on golf carts. That’s awesome. Just a way to celebrate when you’re not really how you should be celebrating. “I guess we can just drive golf carts all crazy?” must have been the extent of that planning.
Go read the whole GQ thing because it’s packed with little stuff like this and finding out who owns Michael Jordan’s famous Reebok warmup jacket that he covered with an American flag. You will very much enjoy reading it, I guarantee. I mean, if you can’t count on Charles Barkley for some hilarious quotes, then what can you count on in this crazy world of ours?