I’m not really a great critique or a movie guy, so you’ll have to bear with me here. I’m obviously biased as a hoops fan, but I thought that this documentary was the greatest thing on Earth, easily.
In the wake of their 20 year anniversary, NBA TV broadcasted a documentary dedicated to the Dream Team last night at 9 p.m EST. If you missed that, I feel really sorry for you. But wait, don’t leave yet! I actually have a download link right here! You can thank @Jose3030 later for that one. I recommend you go ahead and watch that before continuing to read this post. I guess you can call this a spoiler alert.
Anyway, for those of you that are still here, lets dig in.
The documentary was an hour and ten minutes long with no commercials, but probably could have gone on for days. There were so many layers to this team; all of the different personalities and talents that were brought into one place and they were all made to mesh. There had to be so many story lines and dynamics to this team.
Throughout the documentary they only chose a few main points to go over, really. They were the most talked about leading up to the documentary as well. We’ll get into them later, but I must get into what the documentary opened up with.
This was the greatest team ever assembled, ever. They not only transcended the world of basketball and journalism, but they moved the world of pop culture as well. Even in Europe, as showcased throughout the documentary, these guys were stars. Bill Clinton was elected, the Fresh Prince was big, Jordan was officially a global icon, and more importantly I was born. Because of the star that Jordan was, basketball’s golden era was conceived and, really, embraced. Everyone loved these guys.
At the start of the film, they were going over how the partnership of the NBA and FIBA began. In fact, there wasn’t a partnership at all to begin with. The best college athletes were to be selected to play on the U.S National Team. They talked about the success that they had for sometime with that, and also the failure that they faced. There was an emphasis put on how the U.S.S.R won the gold medal in 1972 and how the idea after seeing them win again in 1988 made an uproar in the U.S as well.
The players in Europe were considered amateurs while playing for pay in most other countries. The amateurs in the U.S were made to play on the U.S team, but they weren’t the best players the country had to offer unlike their counterparts. Their best players paid for pay and were considered professionals in the NBA. They couldn’t play in the Olympic games because of their professionalism.
That all changed eventually and the NBA and FIBA formed a partnership. The players were allowed, at last, to play in the Olympics. That posed another problem that the documentary showcased very well. That was, did the players want to play?
They went over that and how the team was selected. The two most intriguing cases were Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley. Michael Jordan said that he didn’t want to be contacted and was actually thinking of a way to turn the opportunity down had he been selected–which, of course, he was going to be. Barkley, on the other hand, embraced the chance and had no doubt in his mind that he would want to do it.
The subject matter of Isiah Thomas being left on the team was addressed from the get-go. They wasted no time in addressing that and I loved that about the film. This was the most talked about dynamic leading up to the showcase and they tackled it almost instantly. Kudos to NBA TV for putting this together so amazingly. They talk about how Jordan wasn’t the only one who didn’t want Isiah to play, his relationship with Chuck Daly, and they embrace that it was more than basketball reasons.
That was probably my favorite part of this awesome documentary. It also features great player interviews from guys like David Robinson, Magic Johnson, and even the little known Bobby Hurley who was on the U.S Select team that beat the U.S team in a scrimmage.
They had a segment where they followed Michael Jordan around while he was embracing the moment one morning. I’ve never seen that side of Michael Jordan in my life. When he won his championships, he was very emotional, yes. But this? This documentary made him seem more human than ever. They showed all facets of Jordan at every angle that you could see him from. Some of the shots that they have of him are simply amazing. They truly put you right in the moment with him.
There were a lot of laughs, a lot of smiles, and a lot of tears by the end of their journey. It was all so surreal–this documentary makes their experience that much more awesome. Its like you’re with the team through all of their experiences. It showcases the good, the bad, and the ugly while throwing in plenty of doses of humor. Magic Johnson’s narratives of their practices were truly golden and John Stockton’s walk of irrelevancy had me on the floor laughing. Not to mention Chris Mullin’s awesome Brooklyn accent throughout the film.
This is truly a great film and it puts a lot of things in perspective. Again, this was a transcendent team. Not only were they kings on the floor, but they were that off the court as well. But they weren’t kings that you could never relate to. Sure, they were millionaires and they had it great. But they were also human. They were all so blind to what they were actually doing at the time. Twenty years later, we still reflect on their gold medal achievement like it was just yesterday.
There were 11 Hall of Famers on this team. I doubt this will ever be replicated; even with the talent that is in the NBA today. I don’t know if there is a coach out there that can bring a team together the way that Chuck Daly did. As great as Coach K is, he’s no Daly. And there are clearly no Jordans, Pippens, Stocktons, Johnsons, or Birds sitting around in the NBA. James is great, Durant is awesome. But they aren’t on the level that these guys were.
All in all, its a great documentary. Make sure you watch it because I won’t forgive you if you don’t. R.I.P Chuck Daly.