Michael Jordan Through The Years: Olympic Spotlight

April 7, 2011 BY

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We’ve covered Michael’s early years, his championship dynasties, his first and second retirement, his Wizards comeback, and the NBA All-Star Game, but Michael also dominated the game on an international level. Two distinguished spots on his wall of awards and achievements go to Olympic Gold Medals that he earned as part of the 1984 Olympic Mens Basketball team, which featured a number of non-professional players that would soon enter the NBA, as well as the historic 1992 Dream Team, long regarded as the greatest assembly of basketball players of all time. Michael was the shining star of both teams, leading the 1984 team with 17.1 points per game and averaging just under 15 for the Dream Team in 1992.

After being drafted by the Chicago Bulls, Michael joined the likes of Patrick Ewing, Chris Mullin, and Sam Perkins – future NBA stars – on the 1984 United States Mens Basketball team. One of Michael’s budding rivals on the Olympic stage was Yugoslavian standout Drazen Petrovic, a superstar in Europe who led his home country to a Bronze Medal in the ’84 Olympics and a Silver in ’92, and Michael spoke fondly of Drazen and their short-lived battles during Olympic and NBA play. Michael Jordan did not wear Nike basketball shoes during the 1984 Olympics, but instead the Converse Star Player basketball shoe, as the entire ’84 squad was outfitted by Converse footwear.

1992 was another story; Michael Jordan had just completed his second straight NBA Championship and his seventh signature Air Jordan shoe with Nike was released. For the Olympic Games, Michael debuted an ‘Olympic’ colorway of the Air Jordan VII, which featured a white base accented by navy blue, red, and gold. A bit of controversy surrounded the Air Jordan VII, Nike, and the Olympic marketing stage; both Nike and Reebok were battling for international recognition as the premier basketball brand, and some of the Dream Team athletes – including Jordan – who had lucrative contracts with Nike refused to wear the Reebok warm-up suits. Instead, Michael and fellow Nike athletes turned the collars down and draped American flags over their chests to conceal any Reebok branding of any kind. Michael’s Olympic career is rather short-lived, but there’s plenty to see below, so check out the Olympic Spotlight below and stay tuned to Sneaker News for the next installment of Michael Jordan Through The Years.

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