The obvious answer is Laettner, but Jordan’s fomer Bulls teammate Dennis Rodman, a Hall of Famer in his own right who also won titles with Thomas in Detroit, disagrees. He says that … wait for it … Larry Bird should’ve been left off the Dream Team. Here’s what the Worm had to say during a recent interview on Sirius XM’s “NBA Today”: “I just think the fact that — I don’t know the issues of Michael (Jordan) and Magic (Johnson) and whoever, (Charles) Barkley, and stuff like that, if they didn’t like Isiah. But for me, I felt Isiah should’ve been on that team because of the fact that he deserved it,” Rodman said.
“I think that the fact that, even though a lot of people will try deny it or try to correct me when I’m wrong, he should’ve been there instead of Larry Bird. Because Larry Bird was hurt, injured, he could barely play, and he was on that last leg of his career. “I understand, again, the presidential treatment, because he did so much for the game, but I just think for Isiah, I think they should’ve put him on that team without Larry Bird, and that’s my opinion.”
Q: Is it possible that you could have worked out with the Spanish team and not played as much? Marc Gasol: I don’t know how to do things halfway. I really don’t know how to do that. When I commit to something, I fully commit. The competitive nature that I have will not allow me to do that. I decided not to be there. I went the first day of training camp to see (my Spanish teammates) and wish them luck, and have dinner with the guys. I didn’t go around after that. First of all, I was jealous. I understand how fortunate we are to play this game and to do the things that we do. To be able not to do it was tough. It wasn’t easy. Like I said, I knew coming in I’d be out of rhythm, especially with my shot. My timing was off and stuff like that.
They’re back, though, in a big way for the Wolves this season — as was a rare 5 p.m. Saturday game in Chicago a week ago — partly for this reason: Midafternoon in Minnesota is 9:30 p.m. in Barcelona and prime time, too, elsewhere in neighboring countries and cultures where the evening’s activities just start later. The first soccer game NBA vice president of global media Matt Brabants ever attended in Madrid started at 9:30 p.m. “I thought it was ridiculously late,” Brabants said. “We had dinner at a restaurant at 8, which was early. Everything starts later. Watching a game at 9:30 on a Sunday or midnight on a Saturday is pretty normal for Europeans, so it works to our benefit.”
What has international play meant to you over the years? Pau Gasol: I mean, it definitely has made me grow, as a person, as a player. It’s given me a lot; I’ve given it a lot. But I’ve received a lot more. There’s a special pride in playing for your country, and play with our group of guys. We always had a good chance to fight for medals, and to win championships. I think we’ve accomplished a lot of special things and shared special moments. It’s a really unique, unique feeling and I’ve loved every second of it.