Twenty Years After Conquering The World, The Dream Team Reflects In New Documentary
It has been 20 years since the Gold Medal-winning ’92 U.S. men’s basketball team traveled to Barcelona, putting on one of the most iconic performances in Olympics history. With interest still high for the only team that included Michael, Magic and Larry, NBA Entertainment has produced “The Dream Team” presented by Right Guard, a 90-minute documentary set to debut tonight on NBA TV at 9:00pm ET. The documentary features exclusive interviews with all 12 players, as well as never-before-seen footage of the selection of the team and the team-building experiences in training camp and exhibition games. NBA Entertainment Exec VP and Exec Producer/Production, Programming & Broadcasting Danny Meiseles said, “Everybody was just so open and so excited to talk about their experiences from that time. It shows in the documentary. You see how proud they were, how excited they were to form friendships that you never would think would happen.” The production crew asked each player for a half-hour of time to reflect on their experiences, but most interviews ran over two hours. There were no preconditions for the interviews. Meiseles said, “Every question that we wanted to ask was asked, and every story that we researched and wanted to talk about was talked about.”
A GREATER GOOD: More than just showing how the relationships of the players go from competitor to teammate to friend, the documentary demonstrates how the Dream Team became ambassadors for the game of basketball to the world. Meiseles said, “The one angle here that we didn’t realize when we started was the affect that this team had on the game of basketball. That it really brought the NBA game to a global level.” The film indicates that current players, such as Mavericks F Dirk Nowitzki and Spurs G Tony Parker, got their first taste of basketball through the Dream Team. Meiseles said, “Putting that historical layer on it makes this a very interesting story, deeper than just the greatest players of our game at the time coming together to play the game.”
Q: Tell me a little bit about what went into the making of this documentary. When did work really begin to take shape on it?
Meiseles: It’s definitely been a passion project for us at NBA Entertainment and NBA TV. Twenty years ago, we had film cameras covering the Dream Team, getting access that you don’t get on an everyday basis, with potentially the greatest players to ever play the game. It’s just been something that we’ve known that we wanted to put together and we felt now was the right time. We’ve got the right format to show it and the audience seems to be excited about it. We felt about a year ago that this was the right time, and when we started looking through the footage we knew we were sitting on very robust, incredible content that we knew we were going to have a great film.
Q: What are you hoping fans get out of this film? When people are done watching it, what do you want them to walk away thinking about or remembering?
Meiseles: I do love the personal stories that you hear and I love that we tell those stories, but my takeaway is that this Dream Team will have an effect on the game of basketball that will last hundreds of years. When we sit here another 20 years from now, the game of basketball internationally will have grown another “X” percent, and it all started with the Dream Team.
Q: There has been a lot of talk about the footage from the scrimmage Team USA played against the college all-stars. What’s your favorite thing about that scene?
Meiseles: I do like that part because it shows the genius of [coach] Chuck Daly and what he was doing there. How do you motivate and how do you focus a group of players that are champions and are MVPs and probably think they can walk into any gym and win any game? To actually swing a game to make it that it ends up motivating the team to band together, to realize there is a possibility you can lose -- and if you do lose what will that mean for this so-called Dream Team. Chuck Daly’s strategy and motivation to bring together this collective group of men in such a way that was, in no other word, brilliant. I think that was just incredibly interesting in the film.
Q: What else does this film provide to fans?
Meiseles: Truthfully, I think this is just a great example of the work that we’re able to put on NBA TV. This is the first of many NBA TV originals that we’re going to produce and I think because of our rich library at the NBA and the access that we have, we’re able to produce content that is really interesting for our fans to see and to get a peek behind the curtain that you can’t see anywhere else.
Q: How hard was it to cut the film down to just 90 minutes?
Meiseles: This could have been a seven-part series. Luckily, with the outlet that we have on NBA.com, everything that didn’t make the movie that we felt was something deserving of making the movie -- those “director’s cuts” or “outtakes” -- those are going to be on NBA.com after the documentary airs.