1984 United States men's Olympic basketball team

The 1984 United States men's Olympic basketball team competed in the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, representing the United States. The team, coached by Indiana Hoosiers coach Bob Knight, won the gold medal. It was the last amateur U.S. team to win an Olympic gold medal in men's basketball. The team was considered one of the strongest in U. S. history as it featured four of the five 1984 consensus first team All-Americans in Michael Jordan, Patrick Ewing, Wayman Tisdale, and Sam Perkins.[1] The talent pool for the U.S. team was so strong that Charles Barkley and John Stockton — future first round picks and hall of famers — did not make the roster.

The Olympic tournament was notable in that many Eastern Bloc countries opted to boycott the games in retaliation of the United States' boycott of the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow.


Name [2] Position Height Weight Age Home Town Team/School
Steve Alford Guard 6-1 163 19 New Castle, IN Indiana
Patrick Ewing Center 7-0 248 21 Cambridge, MA Georgetown
Vern Fleming Guard 6-5 184 23 Long Island City, NY Georgia
Michael Jordan Guard 6-6 199 21 Wilmington, NC North Carolina
Joe Kleine Forward 6-11 269 22 Slater, MO Arkansas
Jon Koncak Center 7-0 250 21 Kansas City, MO Southern Methodist
Chris Mullin Guard 6-6 211 20 Brooklyn, NY St. John's
Sam Perkins Forward 6-9 233 23 Latham, NY North Carolina
Alvin Robertson Guard 6-4 193 21 Barberton, OH Arkansas
Wayman Tisdale Forward 6-9 259 20 Tulsa, OK Oklahoma
Jeff Turner Forward 6-9 229 22 Brandon, FL Vanderbilt
Leon Wood Guard 6-3 190 22 Santa Monica, CA Cal State Fullerton

Olympic trials

Trials for the team were held in April 1984 on the campus of Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. Seventy players attended the trials. Kentucky post players Sam Bowie and Melvin Turpin chose to skip the trials to concentrate on the upcoming 1984 NBA Draft,[3] and Keith Lee of Memphis State, Len Bias of Maryland and Kenny Smith of North Carolina ultimately pulled out as well.[4] Knight led the trials with assistant coaches George Raveling, Don Donoher and C. M. Newton, whittling the prospects to twenty by the end of the first week.[1][5]

During the trials, Auburn junior Charles Barkley impressed with his performance - most observers felt he and North Carolina guard Michael Jordan were the two top performers. However, Barkley's and Knight's strong personalities did not mesh and Barkley was one of the last cuts for the roster.[6] Released with Barkley in the penultimate cut from 20 to 16 players in May were John Stockton, Terry Porter, and Maurice Martin.[7] Knight's final cut to twelve players came in June, and the final four let go were Tim McCormick, Lancaster Gordon, Johnny Dawkins, and Chuck Person (Dawkins and Person served as alternates for the team).[8] The most controversial selection was Knight's own player, Steve Alford, who at 19 was the team's youngest player and who most did not expect to make the team.[1]

Olympic tournament

The team went 8-0 in the Olympic tournament, averaging 95.4 points per game and holding their opponents to 63.3. Four players averaged double-figures: Michael Jordan (17.1), Chris Mullin (11.6), Patrick Ewing (11.0) and Steve Alford (10.3). Wayman Tisdale led the team in rebounding (6.4 per game), while Leon Wood led the team in assists (7.9 per game).[2]



The 1984 Olympics was a coming-out party for Michael Jordan, who led the U. S. team in scoring and dazzled the worldwide viewing audience with his athleticism and speed. In addition to Jordan, the team featured two other future Hall of Famers in Patrick Ewing and Chris Mullin (who would later reunite with Jordan as a part of the 1992 Dream Team). Jordan recalled that while this Olympic experience was exciting, it had also been trying because of Knight: "I don't know if I would have done it if I knew what Knight was going to be like."[9]

The Olympics and trials helped the draft stock of several players. Vern Fleming and Jeff Turner parlayed their Olympic exposure into first-round spots in the 1984 draft, while several players cut from the team either received strong recommendations from Knight (future Hall of Famer John Stockton and Tim McCormick) or benefited from exposure from the trials (Barkley and Lancaster Gordon).[6]

See also


  1. 1 2 3 Cunningham, Carson (2009). American Hoops: U.S. Men's Olympic Basketball From Berlin to Beijing. University of Nebraska Press. ISBN 978-0-8032-2293-9.
  2. 1 2 "1984 USA Men's Olympic Games Roster & Results." usabasketball.com. Retrieved on August 18, 2012.
  3. "Bowie, Turpin to Skip". TheDaily Times. April 14, 1984. Retrieved August 18, 2012.
  4. "Olympic Cage Quest". TheDaily Times. April 14, 1984. Retrieved August 18, 2012.
  5. Blanchette, John (April 24, 1984). "Stockton makes Olympic cut". Spokesman-Review. p. C1.
  6. 1 2 Bondy, Filip (2007). Tip-Off: How the 1984 NBA Draft Changed Basketball Forever. DaCapo Press. ISBN 978-0-306-81486-0.
  7. Blanchette (May 14, 1984). "Basketball school is over for Stockton". Spokesman-Review. p. 13.
  8. "Knight Makes Up His Mind Early, Announces Olympic Cage Squad". TheDaily Times. June 28, 1984. Retrieved August 18, 2012.
  9. Smith, Sam (1993). The Jordan Rules. Simon and Schuster. p. 207. ISBN 9780671796662. Retrieved March 27, 2015.

External links

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