Updated: August 13, 2010, 6:05 PM ET

Pippen Ready For Hall

Barkley, Dream Team One For Ages

By Chris Sheridan

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.

Click here to read the rest from Sheridan.


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