Technically, it was called the 1992 U.S. Olympic Men’s Basketball Team but the roster quickly took on a moniker more fitting of the greatest accumulation of basketball talent ever to wear the same uniform. The “Dream Team” was born thanks to a confluence of stars that’s impossible to top even in today’s superstar-heavy pro game and a rule change that enabled pro participation for the first time.
Michael Jordan. Larry Bird. Magic Johnson. Charles Barkley. John Stockton. Karl Malone. Clyde Drexler…all competitors during the NBA season were suddenly playing on the same squad. It was a roster for the ages. Eleven of the 12 Dream Teamers would become Hall of Famers and ten would be named to the list of the league’s 50 greatest players a few years later.
Now, a jersey worn by one of those icons during that historic tournament is about to hit the auction block.
In its upcoming catalog, SCP Auctions will offer what it is billing as the first photo-matched ’92 Olympic jersey from one of the trio of titans from the era. The blue jersey donned by Magic Johnson is expected to sell for $150,000 or more.
After making the gut-wrenching decision to retire from the Los Angeles Lakers in November of 1991, Johnson made a triumphant return at the 1992 All-Star Game and was then selected to be part of the first Olympic squad made up of professional players. Controversy surrounded his All-Star cameo due to the lack of knowledge about the HIV virus at that time. As the Games approached, Johnson was still trying to win over some Olympic competitors who feared he could endanger others just by participating.
None of it was founded in fact, of course, and it was Johnson’s leadership that guided Team USA throughout its preparations for the Summer Games and into the tournament. His performance in Barcelona that summer would later lead to an inspiring NBA comeback.
The navy blue jersey is tied to a 115-77 win over Puerto Rico in the quarterfinals in which Johnson scored 13 points and dished out seven assists.
The shirt has been matched to the August 4 game by photos and video showing the same mesh hole alignment and a loose thread on the small Champion company logo patch on the front. Auction officials say it includes proper tagging on the left front tail including the “Designed and Tailored Exclusively for 1992 Summer Olympic Games” labeling.
The jersey includes a letter of authenticity from Resolution Photomatching with details of the research that provided the connection to the game in Barcelona.
According to SCP Auctions, the jersey originated with a Hollywood agent who was well-known to sports and entertainment celebrities of the era and acquired numerous pieces of memorabilia from them. Other items from the “Hollywood Agent Collection” have been offered in previous SCP sales.
It will be among hundreds of items in the auction, which is set to open September 11 and continue through the 28th at SCPAuctions.com.