Saturday, July 21, 2012

Dream Team book compelling

Author Jack McCallum is one of the few sports writers who followed the original Dream Team every step of the way during the 1992 Summer Olympics.

He writes his superb book, "Dream Team: How Michael, Magic, Larry, Charles and the great team of all time conquered the world and changed the game of basketball forever," as if he were chasing down and covering a band of rock stars, which he freely admits.

McCallum doesn't disappoint with humor, tidbits, and loads of behind-the-scene info, all in great detail, on the 12 Dream Teamers. But wait, there's more, as in mouth-watering subplots leading up to and during the Olympics. Such as:

- Michael Jordan's insistence Isaiah Thomas not be added to the team.

- Larry Bird's reluctance to join the team until the last moment.

- An unexpected friendship between Bird and Patrick Ewing.

- Clyde Drexler's jealousy of Jordan, and his frustration of being the last NBA player added to the roster.

- Jordan playing cards throughout the night, then playing 18 holes of golf, and an Olympic game the next day, all on zero hours of sleep.

- Chris Mullin, yes Mullin, being acknowledged as one of the first players spotlighted to get after obvious ones such as Jordan, Magic and Charles Barkley.

- Christian Laettner, the nation's best college player at the time, trying to fit in as a misplaced Dream Teamer.

- The famous Dream Team scrimmage no one, except McCallum, knows much about.

As for the games leading up to and during the Olympics, there's not much detail because all were blowouts. 
McCallum's style provides the quickest 330 pages you will ever read, but that doesn't take anything away from the content.

"When the Game Was Ours," written by Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and Jackie MacMullan is my favorite basketball book of all-time, but "Dream Team" is a close second.

- Mark Podolski | @mpodo


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