Photos: Your Favorite Summer Olympian- page 24 | Summer Olympics | Smithsonian
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(Cheryl Carlin)

Photos: Your Favorite Summer Olympian

Recall the athletes who capture our imaginations every four years and let us know who is your favorite

The Dream Team

The Dream Team
(© Gregg Newton/Corbis)
The Olympics have always struggled to balance its original goals of being a platform for amateur athletes while also highlighting the best in the world. Basketball, which became an Olympic sport in 1936, was no exception. It wasn’t until the 1992 Summer Games in Barcelona that players from the NBA would be allowed to participate in the competition. In 1988, eight months after the U.S. men’s team lost to the Soviet Union in the Seoul Olympics, Boris Stankovic, the head of the International Basketball Federation (FIBA), led the movement to include NBA athletes on an international level. Enter the “Dream Team,” an all-star cast of players composed of Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, to name a few, which annihilated the competition, racking up wins at an average of 40 points per game. U.S. victory aside, the Dream Team’s participation in the Games raised the rim, skill-wise, for basketball worldwide. --CH

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