Scottie Pippen Calls Out 'Unworthy' Dream Team Member

Exploring Team Dynamics in 1992's Olympic Basketball Squad.

by Nouman Rasool
Scottie Pippen Calls Out 'Unworthy' Dream Team Member
© Kelly Defina/Getty Images

In a revealing insight into the formation of the legendary 1992 Barcelona Olympics Dream Team, Scottie Pippen, a central figure in the team's success, has expressed his views on the team's composition, particularly the inclusion of then-NBA rookie Christian Laettner.

The Dream Team, often hailed as the greatest in basketball history, boasted a roster filled with titans of the sport such as Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, and Charles Barkley.

Pippen Critiques Laettner's Selection

Pippen, in his book "Unguarded," as reported by NBC Sports, reflects on the selection process, noting his disagreement with Laettner's inclusion.

“I agreed with each pick except Laettner,” Pippen writes. “I didn't think he would fit in, and I was right”. His candid assessment underscores a sentiment that Laettner, despite his outstanding college achievements – including two NCAA championships and being named NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player – wasn’t on par with the elite NBA players of the time.

The former Chicago Bulls star advocates for the inclusion of Dominique Wilkins over Laettner, highlighting the richness of talent available in the NBA then. “The committee should have chosen another NBA player, and plenty were worthy.

My preference was Dominique Wilkins,” he asserts. This viewpoint aligns with that of Wilkins himself, who in retrospect believes his injury was the only barrier to his selection. Wilkins, often referred to as "The Human Highlight Film," eventually captained Dream Team II in 1994, bringing his unique flair to the international stage.

While Laettner's statistics in the tournament – averaging 4.8 points, 2.5 rebounds, and one steal per game – were respectable, Pippen's remarks suggest a belief that a seasoned NBA veteran like Wilkins could have made a more substantial impact.

This opinion opens up a broader conversation about the criteria for selection in such an elite team, hinting at the possibility that the team's already star-studded lineup influenced the decision to include a promising rookie.

Pippen's reflections offer a unique perspective on a historic moment in basketball history, inviting fans and analysts alike to ponder what could have been if the Dream Team had included another seasoned NBA star in place of Laettner.