The 1992 Lithuanian Olympic Basketball Dream Team

Grace Higgins | February 4th, 2020

After the downfall of the Soviet Union, many of the countries exiting the bloc, such as Lithuanian were left extremely poor. Much of their country’s economy was subsidized by the Soviet Union, so there was a big-time of adjustment on figuring out how to stand on their own feet. Of course, anything that was not considered necessary was quickly cut from the budget. And that included sending the Lithuanian basketball team to the Olympics.

s1.15min.lt

But sometimes a basketball team is more than a team, you can see culture and hope through sports teams and that is what happened on this occasion. The Lithuanian 1992 team represented a whole lot more at the time, for many they were a very representation of freedom. So how did this happen?

Basketball was a pride and joy for the Soviet Union they generally dominated Olympic basketball due to a state-funded training program. For over eight consecutive summers they gained medals, with the streak only ending when they decided to boycott the Olympic Games in Los Angeles in 1984. Some of the best players from Russia were names like Mikhail Studenetsky, Aleksandr Travin, and of course, Sergei Belov. But the world never really saw them play due to the restrictions placed on them. Any dreams of playing in the NBA would have been seen as defecting and their families would have felt the wrath of Stalin.

All this changed in the 1992 Olympics after the Soviet Union had broken down. Lithuania was a basketball-crazy country with its stars playing abroad in the NBA and Spanish leagues since the country’s independence. Marciulionis was playing for the Golden State Warriors and was trying to use some of his NBA money to finance the newly independent Lithuania’s team trip to Barcelona Olympics. But the travel, equipment, and accommodations were proving to be too expensive, however, the team knew if they could just get there they would win a medal.

The Hippie Jam band The Grateful Dead heard about their struggles and decided to pitch in, under one condition. They felt uniforms represented something unvaried that followed one principle: prisoners wear uniforms. So the Lithuanians would wear jerseys. As such The Grateful Dead sent them a check and a load of colorful, free-flowing tie-dye warm-up jerseys: including a flying dunking skeleton right smack in the middle.

The rest, as they say, is history, they blazed through the Olympics and though they couldn’t take the gold against The United States of America, they were able to beat the Russians and secure a bronze medal.

Next Article
  • NBA All-Star Saturday

    On NBA All-Star Saturday night, the events include the Skills Challenge, 3-Point Contest and Slam Dunk Contest. The night starts with the Skills Challenge, which saw two surprising players in the final round. When creating the bracket, guards and matched up against the big men, with the big men winning all four first-round matchups this...

    Read More
  • NBA All-Star Friday

    In what would start the always entertaining NBA All-Star Weekend, the Celebrity Game featured coaching from Stephen A. Smith and Mike Wilbon, while the Rising Stars Game featured NBA All-Star Game starters Trae Young and Luka Doncic. Without Kevin Hart in the Celebrity Game, there’s a lack of comedy and total entertainment, as none of...

    Read More
  • Booker Replaces Lillard In ASG

    Devin Booker, the Phoenix Suns guard who has long been underrated for his on-court performances, is replacing Damian Lillard in the All-Star Game and three-point contest. This season, Booker is averaging 26.4 points and 6.3 assists per game, while shooting 50% from the field, 36% from three and 92% from the free throw line. His...

    Read More
  • Hiding Inside Dead Horses On The World War I Battlefield

    During World War I, fighting was ferocious on the battle lines between France and Germany. Both armies had dug themselves into trenches so much so that there was nearly no movement either way. They sat in the trenches for years on end and simply blasted each other as much as they could. The whole landscape...

    Read More
  • Lakers Defeat Nuggets

    In a matchup of the first and second seeds in the Western Conference, the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Denver Nuggets 120-116. Sorry Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, but LeBron James and Anthony Davis are the best duo in the league, further proving that point in the close win against the Nuggets. James had a...

    Read More
  • The Dangers Of The Dust Bowl Can Be Electrocution By Hug

    During the perils of the Dust Bowl, people that lived in the Northern parts of Texas or Oklahoma had to contend with huge dust storms that could last for days. These were storms of fine flour-like dust particles that would blast through everything: the cracks on the window frames, under the doors and would even...

    Read More
  • The Zion Williamson Show

    Nine games into his professional career, and Zion Williamson is the creator of his own show and we’re all viewers. In his first nine games playing professional basketball in the regular season, Williamson is averaging 21.0 points and 7.7 rebounds per game, while shooting 57.6% from the field and 40% from three. The special part...

    Read More