Like a lot of you, I'm a sucker for basketball documentaries — I've written about a bunch of them here at BDL over the past couple of years — and I've been very eagerly awaiting the release of "The Other Dream Team." The film, which tells the story of the Lithuanian men's national basketball team's journey from the fall of the Soviet Union to the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival and has earned strong reviews throughout the festival circuit over the course of the past seven months or so.
"The Other Dream Team" gets its theatrical release in New York and Los Angeles on Friday, with wider distribution coming in the weeks ahead, and we'll have a review of it up later this week. For now, though, check out this brief clip from the film, detailing the team's triumphant tie-dyed trip to the medal stand:
It's great to see Chris Mullin, however briefly, in the documentary, because not only was he a member of the 1992 U.S. men's national basketball team (the American Dream Team that lends its name to this film, in relief) that won gold in Barcelona, but for four years, he was also a teammate of Lithuanian star Sarunas Marciulionis on the Golden State Warriors.
Earlier in the film, Mullin recalls a story from just after Marciulionis came to the states and became the first Lithuanian to play in the NBA: "When he first went to shop in Safeway, there were no rations on the vegetables and the fruits. And he started crying." Watching the smile that finds its way across Mullin's face as he talks about Marciulionis — who he says changed his perception of what a European player could be — and his teammates celebrating is something special.
And to see them head up there in those tie-dyed shirts, which Lithuania guard Rimas Kurtinaitis said "gave us a belief that we were different" and then-Lithuania assistant coach/current Dallas Mavericks general manager Donnie Nelson said they wore "everywhere" ... well, that's even better.
You can find out if/when "The Other Dream Team" is playing near you here.