Chris Mullin recalls Kings legend Chris Webber dominating Dream Team

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James Ham
·3 min read
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A pair of former Kings played a role in one of the most incredible stories in NBA lore.

When a group of college players scrimmaged against one of the greatest teams ever assembled and came out on top, one eventual Sacramento star stood above the rest.

Chris Webber, then a member of Michigan's "Fab Five," was just 19 at the time. The 6-foot-10 big turned heads with his incredible talent, leaving a lasting impression on Chris Mullin.

"I remember a year later in the draft, I remember sitting down with [then-Warriors coach Don Nelson]," Mullin recalled to Tom Haberstroh on the latest episode of NBC Sports' "Habershow" podcast. "He had a few guys on the board -- Shawn Bradley, Chris Webber and maybe Penny Hardaway.

"He said, ‘what do you think?' and I said, ‘All I know, is one day in San Diego, this guy Webber was the best player on the court, including (Larry) Bird.' "

Nelson's Warriors traded three first-round picks -- and the rights to Hardaway -- on draft night in 1993 to land Webber, who played with Mullin for one season. Before then, Webber and a group of college kids gave the Dream Team a wake-up call.

Mullin's fellow Olympians took on what would later become the Select Team in the weeks leading up to the Barcelona Olympics. For all intents and purposes, they were supposed to be punching bags for the superstars of the NBA as they prepared for the games.

But Webber, Bobby Hurley -- the Kings' first-round pick in 1993 -- and the rest of their teammates comprised a hand-selected group that would go on to make their own names in the league.

"That was an incredible group of young players, first off," Mullin said. "All of those guys went on to have incredible careers."

Hurley was a gritty point guard who racked up college wins and assists at Duke like very few before him. Webber was the reigning USBWA National Freshman of the Year.

They would have to go up against the likes of John Stockton, Magic Johnson, Charles Barkley and Karl Malone in practice.

Michael Jordan didn't play that day, according to Mullin, but that doesn't completely detract from the oft-told story. Webber and a group of college players walked into the gym and took down a team of legends.

"It was one of those scrimmages where, look, as a kid, that's a dream of a lifetime, and they came out and they played well," Mullin added.

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Hardaway, Allan Houston, Grant Hill, Jamal Mashburn, Rodney Rogers and Eric Montross joined Webber and Hurley on the roster. Webber, Hardaway, Houston, Hill and Mashburn would each make at least one All-Star appearance. 

Hurley's career was derailed by a car accident in his rookie season, but he still played 269 NBA games. Montross played 465, and Rogers lasted over a decade.

The Dream Team dominated their college counterparts in a rematch the next day, getting the wake-up call they needed. They would go on to run the table at the Olympics, winning every game by 30 points or more. 

[RELATED: Kent Bazemore quickly became fan favorite in short audition with Kings]

The 1992 gold medalists are widely considered the greatest group of talent ever assembled for an international tournament. Eleven of the 12 players are in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

But for one day, Webber -- not Malone, Barkley, Patrick Ewing nor David Robinson -- was the best player on the floor, at least according to Mullin.

Webber made five All-Star teams and was the anchor in the Kings' glory years after coming to Sacramento in a 1998 trade, but the Hall of Fame has not yet called his name.

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Chris Mullin recalls Kings legend Chris Webber dominating Dream Team originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area