Christian Laettner's teammates all wonder why he's tired (Andrew D. Bernstein/ Getty).
Twenty years after it dominated the competition at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, the Dream Team has only grown in stature. It is generally agreed upon as the greatest collection of basketball talent in history, and its performances were so great that the margins of victory look like misprints. But as the games themselves have faded into memory, the greatness of the Dream Team has become almost too much of a story and not enough of an experience. We can look at the players on that roster and know how good they were, or the effect they had on the international popularity of basketball, or the extent of their celebrity overseas. Yet what was the experience really like? And why, exactly, does the team still capture our attention and imagination so long after its achievement?
If for no other reason than that it communicates the answers to those questions, NBA TV's 90-minute documentary "The Dream Team" (which premiered Wednesday night and will be rebroadcast several times this weekend) is essential viewing. Though it takes the form a standard-issue hagiographic production, the doc features highlights, rare practice footage, and behind-the-scenes clips of players hanging out that both recall the experience and provide a new look at it. Not every moment is stellar, but there are so many joyous moments that it's all too much fun to complain. In turn, we can remember and understand just why anyone cares so many years later.
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