Pippen Ready For Hall
Barkley, Dream Team One For Ages
It was not until he was 36,000 feet into the air, halfway over the Atlantic Ocean heading West, away from Barcelona, when the totality of the Dream Team experience struck Charles Barkley like a sharp elbow to the head (something he knew all too much about).
The emotion that overcame him was neither relief nor joy nor pride. All the endorphin rush-inducing moments had already come and gone.
Instead, it was a twinge of sadness.
The greatest collection of superstars ever assembled on one team in the history of the sport, after an entire summer of bonding together, blowing out every single team they faced and ushering in a new era in the globalization of the game, was just a few hours away from dispersing.
"Halfway through that flight, you realized you're never going to see anything like this again," Barkley said. "And we had so much fun together, it was sad to leave everybody, to be honest with you. When we landed at JFK, everybody gave everybody a hug and said good luck, and then -- especially Michael [Jordan], Scottie [Pippen] and Patrick [Ewing] -- all told each other: 'I'm going to kick your ass this season.'"
The summer of 1992 was unlike any in the history of Olympic basketball, the American Dream Team of superstars -- Barkley, Jordan, Pippen, Ewing, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Clyde Drexler, Chris Mullin, David Robinson, Karl Malone, John Stockton and Christian Laettner (who made the squad ahead of Shaquille O'Neal because the USA Basketball selection committee gave one roster choice to the NCAA) -- becoming the biggest and brashest story of the Games, drawing a level of worldwide interest that ultimately contributed more to the growth of the global game than any other singular factor.
Starting Lineup: Friday, Aug. 13
Basketball Hall of Fame
We Meet Again
Inductees Karl Malone and Scottie Pippen shake hands Thursday during the Bunn-Gowdy Hall of Fame Reunion Dinner as part of the Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2010 Induction Weekend.
DJ And Green Legacy
Special to ESPNBoston.com
The Boston Celtics have always had a proprietary interest in the Basketball Hall of Fame. It may be partially due to geography; the team in Boston is the NBA's closest to the shrine in Springfield, Mass. It may be because the Hall and the Celtics' dynasty emerged at nearly the same time, the Hall inducting its first class in 1959 (despite the absence of a physical structure, which would come nine years later) while the Celtics were amassing titles with stunning regularity in the late 1950s and '60s.
The Hall doesn't make its inductees wear a hat, so to speak, at the enshrinement ceremony. They don't have to choose a team. But if they did, and if Dennis Johnson could come back from the dead for the induction Friday and make his choice, it would almost certainly be as a member of the Celtics. That's how so many remember him and that's how the Hall is promoting his induction, in pictures wearing a Celtics uniform.
The man known as DJ won two titles with the Celtics and was an almost automatic All-Defensive Team selection. But he also won a title with Seattle and was MVP of the NBA Finals in 1979. He was first-team All-NBA with the Suns. But he spent more years in Boston than in either Seattle or Phoenix, not that that really matters. He is remembered as a Celtic. Period.