Michael Jordan’s Nike-Reebok stunt overshadowed Chuck Daly’s proud moment during 1992 medal ceremony

I’ll have a few posts up this weekend about “Dream Team: How Michael, Magic, Larry, Charles, and the Greatest Team of All Time Conquered the World and Changed the Game of Basketball Forever,” Jack McCallum’s new book. Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the book for review.

Nike-man Michael Jordan draping an American flag over his Reebok logo was the defining moment of the Dream Team’s gold-medal ceremony, but lost in the stunt was a nice moment for Chuck Daly. McCallum’s “Dream Team”:

Several of the Dreamers beckoned for Daly and his assistants to join them on the podium. They had grown quite close to the staff over the weeks together and had universal respect for Daly. They loved his staccato speech, his sweat-only-the-big-stuff philosophy, his command of the game, and his habit of occasionally touching up his hair and smoothing his collar ever so subtly, even in the heat of the game. “Every time I went out on the floor,” Malone said years later, “I’d look back and there would be Coach Daly doing all this . . .” Malone mimicked a man grooming. “Everything had to be perfect.”

True to fashion, Daly and his assistants demurred, players-first guys to the end. From the press area, I wanted to scream: Chuck, get up there! You’ll be coaching the New Jersey Nets soon! Enjoy this! But he was enjoying it, as Wilkens later made clear. “Chuck grabbed my arm and just held on, and I looked over and there was a tear coming out of Chuck’s eye. That said it all for me.”