NEW YORK -- What do you remember about the Dream Team? Or perhaps, what don't you remember? Because in Lang Whitaker's new piece in the new issue of GQ Magazine, he tells amazing stories never before told about one of the best teams ever assembled in any sport.
Whitaker spent six months working on an oral history of the 1992 men's basketball gold medal-winning team, and during that stretch he had to constantly live with his cell tethered to his side. One morning, Karl Malone, out fishing in Louisiana, called him at 7 a.m., waking Whitaker out of his sleep. Another night, it was Christian Laettner ringing at 11 p.m. The piece is a captivating read. Among the highlights for me: Larry Bird stepping into a hotel room, the last of the 12 superstars on the roster, looking at a pile of basketballs to sign. He asked who had the fastest signing time of his peers, then had someone in the room time him. You can read the story to see what he clocked.
Another gem is that many people probably don't realize that this team actually lost. They had a game against a roster of elite college players that included Chris Webber and Penny Hardaway -- who would have been the United States' representatives at the Olympics had the vote gone the other way to instill the pros. The game wasn't televised, and very little up to this point has been documented about it, but Whitaker gets fantastic anecdotes about how much it burned the NBA players, and how even to this day, those college players wear it as a badge of pride.
A documentary on that team airs on Wednesday night on NBATV, but Whitaker was in our studio the other day talking about his story and just how great that team was.