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.
In “Dream Team,” Jack McCallum provides a lengthy rundown of what he dubbed “The Greatest Game Nobody Ever Saw,” a pre-Olympic scrimmage between the American players:
By breakfast this morning Daly had decided that his team had better beat itself up a little bit. The Dream Team had scrimmaged several times before this fateful day, a couple of the games ending in a diplomatic tie as Daly refused to allow overtime. He normally tried to divvy up the teams by conference, but on this day Drexler was nursing a minor injury and Stockton was still recovering from a fractured right fibula he had suffered in the Olympic qualifying tournament.
So with two fewer Western players than Eastern players, and only two true guards (Magic and Jordan), Daly went with Magic, Barkley, Robinson, Chris Mullin and Laettner on the Blue Team against Jordan, Malone, Ewing, Pippen and Bird on the White.
Whatever the result, there would be few to bear witness. The gym was all but locked down. The media were allowed in for only the last part of practice. Officials from USA Basketball even kicked out the NBA PR people and videographers from NBA Entertainment.
Play by play, McCallum analyzes the scrimmage. So how did he get the details?
A single cameraman, Pete Skorich, who was Chuck Daly’s guy with the Pistons, recorded the day. It was a closed universe, a secret little world, when ten of the best basketball players in the world began going at each other.