By Ben Horney, Knicks fan since '94
21 years ago today, on August 8, 1992, Knicks legend Patrick Ewing and the Dream Team cemented themselves in the history books with a 32-point victory over Croatia to take home the gold in Barcelona.
While the result was never really in question -- the Dream Team beat their opponents by an average of nearly 44 points per game throughout the tournament -- the Gold Medal game solidified the team's legacy once and for all as the greatest collection of NBA talent ever assembled. A large part of their dominance was an insane front line, featuring Ewing, David Robinson, Karl Malone and Charles Barkley, all in their primes.
Looking back, it's difficult to comprehend that the 32-point beat down of Croatia in the Gold Medal game was actually the closest match of the tournament for the Dream Team. As a matter of fact, they were only up by a single point at the end of the first quarter, and actually found themselves losing, 25-23, early in the second. But the Dream Team pulled away soon after, outscoring Croatia by a combined 33 points in the second and third quarters.
Ewing, who averaged 11.8 points and 5.2 rebounds per game for the tournament, stepped it up in the Gold Medal match; his 15 points (on 6-of-10 shooting) was third highest on the team, behind only Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley. He also grabbed six rebounds and added a steal in just over 21 minutes of play. Overall, Ewing shot a scintillating 62 percent from the field in the summer of '92. He also ended the tournament with 10 total blocks (second on the team, behind only Robinson's 11) and six steals.
With the victory, Ewing became a two-time gold medalist -- he had also taken home the gold at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, while still a Georgetown Hoya. 1992, however, will forever be the year that the United States flexed their muscles to the rest of the world, as regular season NBA foes came together to create an unstoppable team.
"It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience," Ewing proudly recalled last summer. "We all sacrificed our abilities to become a great team. When you're playing in the Olympics, you're playing for the country. You have the whole country behind you."