Photo: AP Images
There has been a lot of attention paid recently to the original Dream Team, the 1992 U.S. Men’s Olympic Basketball Team. One player left off of that squad was Shaquille O’Neal. And in a recent radio interview, he admits that he was pissed about the snub (via SportsRadioInterviews.com)…“I was pissed off. I was jealous. But then I had to come to the realisation that I was a more explosive, more powerful player, but Christian Laettner was a little bit more fundamentally sound than I was. Plus he stayed all four years and graduated. … I just think it helped me grow as a player.”
While the team consisted mostly of future NBA Hall of Famers, it was predetermined that at least one college player would be on the roster. And when the team was announced, Christian Laettner, a senior at Duke, was the choice.
Shaq, who was a junior at LSU at the time of the roster selection, was not the only big snub. Alonzo Mourning, a senior at Georgetown was also passed over.
At the time, the international free throw lane had a trapezoid shape (wider at the baseline), and the feeling was that post-up centres would not be able to dominate in the Olympics. And Laettner had a more balanced game and polished jumpshot.
Still, it’s easy to look back at that team and imagine how it could have been even more fun if Shaq was part of the party.
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