By Jack McCallum
Ballantine Books, $28.00, 352 pages
The 1992 Summer Olympics marked the first time professional American men competed on the basketball court, and Sports Illustrated writer Jack McCallum was there with unprecedented access to the biggest stars of the NBA. Marking the twentieth anniversary of the ’92 Games, McCallum shares behind-the-scenes stories in his well-written, highly entertaining book, Dream Team.
McCallum tells the complete history of the quest to have professional American NBA players compete in the Olympics. Interspersed throughout the book are current-day interviews with the players about their memories of the Games – including the leaders of the team, Ervin Magic Johnson, Larry Bird and Michael Jordan.
Readers will enjoy getting the inside scoop – from the team’s intensely competitive practice drills, the unadulterated adoration of rival countries’ teams, and the intense late-night ping pong games and all-day rounds of golf to the politics that kept Isaiah Thomas off the team, the pranks that went on behind the scenes and the aftermath of pros finally playing in the Games.
Part political thriller and part Valentine to the greatest team ever assembled, Dream Team is a sometimes touching, sometimes damning – but always interesting – account of USA Basketball and its first all-star pro team.
Reviewed by Rebecca Parsons