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As the 1992 Dream Team came together, Larry Bird grappled with severe back issues, which limited him to only playing 45 games in the 1991-92 NBA Season.
At that point, the three-time MVP was far from his best, and many believed that his inclusion to the team was merely symbolic, especially since an Olympic gold medal would have been a perfect farewell for the 35-year-old Boston Celtics legend. However, Michael Jordan held a different perception.
Michael Jordan on Larry Bird's inclusion
While in Barcelona, a reporter asked "His Airness" whether Bird being on the Dream Team was purely sentimental. The Chicago Bulls legend answered by expressing deep respect for "The Great White Hope."
"I don't care how old or in pain Larry Bird is," Jordan said. "You name me a forward in this league who's not already on the team who can rebound, throw the outlet pass to get the break going, shoot the 3-pointer, play in the half-court, and has the presence of Bird."
With exceptional talent at every position, the Dream Team was a force to be reckoned with, capable of destroying any other team in the tournament. That's why Larry Legend, a co-captain alongside Magic Johnson, wasn't tasked with shouldering the scoring load but providing crucial, seasoned experience.
However, that didn't stop the Celtics legend from putting up a team-high 19 points in a 111-68 victory over Detlef Schrempf-led Germany in their third game of the tournament.
Bird averaged 18.0 minutes during the 1992 Olympics. He finished the tournament as the team's ninth-leading scorer, averaging 8.4 points per game, along with 3.8 rebounds, 1.8 assists, and 1.8 steals.
Chuck Daly forgot about Bird
The Dream Team's unmatched star power ensured that the outcome of their matches was never in question. Their dazzling plays often blurred the lines between individual contributions, which is something even head coach Chuck Daly wasn't immune to.
As a result, during the gold medal game against Croatia, Chuck, swept up in the excitement, unintentionally overlooked Larry throughout the entire first half.
After the Dream Team's assistant coach P.J. Carlesimo realized what happened, Bird responded by stating that the number of times his Celtics had shattered the hearts of Daly's Detroit Pistons, one would expect the head coach to remember where Larry was.
But once that final buzzer sounded and both of them were crowned as Olympic gold medalists, none of that mattered anymore.