S otheby’s is proud to present The Dream Team | Part I, a special single lot auction for Michael Jordan’s iconic 1992 Summer Olympics ‘Dream Team’ Gold Medal Ceremony Reebok jacket.
This jacket is perhaps the most important ‘Dream Team’ item to ever surface publicly, and is also potentially the most controversial within the parameters of Jordan’s illustrious career. Worn by Michael Jordan as he accepted the Gold Medal for his victory and leadership as part of the now iconic 1992 ‘Dream Team,’ Jordan was vehemently against wearing this Reebok jacket due to his loyalty to his longtime business partner, Nike.
Loyal Down to the Buzzer: Michael Jordan’s Olympic Gold Medal ‘Dream Team’ Jacket
“They said they are going to try to hide the Reebok on it. But they can’t hide it like I’m gonna hide it.”
Reebok had spent millions to be the provider of outfits for the teams in Barcelona, and as part of that deal, expected athletes to be pictured in its apparel. In Episode V of the smash-hit ESPN documentary, The Last Dance, legendary NBA commissioner David Stern recalls of the incident, “…Michael decided that he didn’t want to display the Reebok logo that was on his uniform.” In the next cut, Jordan appears to be sipping calmly from a porcelain cup of coffee in the passenger’s seat of a car, and exclaims, “Harvey Schiller. What a dick.” Jordan was referring to the Executive Director of the United States Olympic Committee at the time.
A man in the car asks, “Who is that?”
Jordan, perhaps irritated, explains, “The guy who said if we don’t wear our uniforms, we can’t accept our gold medal and all that stuff…”
The man then asks, “Is that still a big issue? They still talking about that?”
Jordan replies, “Nah. They said they are going to try to hide the Reebok on it. But they can’t hide it like I’m gonna hide it. They in for a big fucking surprise.”
This jacket is many things. It’s a symbol of Michael Jordan’s Gold Medal performance as part of arguably the greatest basketball team ever assembled, ‘The Dream Team.’ It represents a milestone in terms of how the National Basketball Association was able to build its audience on the global stage, and finally, this jacket is a representation of Michael’s loyalty to Nike, the company that believed in him from the very inception of his professional career, and is still such an important part of his life.
The jacket is in the original condition that Jordan wore it, with safety pins covering the Reebok logo that prevented the brand’s name from showing, while the eyes of the world turned to the Gold Medal ceremony. Additionally, Jordan draped an American Flag over the right side of the jacket during the ceremony, as an extra precaution to prevent the logo from showing.
After the ceremony, as an August 1992 Sports Illustrated article outlined, Jordan “tossed his award suit to NBA Public Relations director Brian McIntyre after the ceremony.” Sports Illustrated quoted Jordan as saying, “I certainly don’t want it.”
The Dream Team
Chuck Daly, the coach of the 1992 Dream Team famously said,
“It was like Elvis and the Beatles put together. Traveling with the Dream Team was like traveling with 12 rock stars. That's all I can compare it to.”
In 1992, for the first time, professional athletes from the NBA were allowed to compete in the Olympic Games. After America’s 3rd place finish in the 1988 (Cold War era) Olympic Games in Seoul, Korea and the Soviet Union’s Gold Medal performance, the USA rallied perhaps the most remarkable assemblage of teammates to ever play together – in any sport. Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Charles Barkley, David Robinson, Patrick Ewing, Karl Malone, and Scottie Pippen were just some of the names that played for Team USA in 1992. 11 of the athletes that played for the ‘Dream Team’ were inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
The Best of the Dream Team at the Barcelona 92 Olympics | Throwback Thursday
“After the Olympics, Michael was the most recognizable, the most popular sports figure, but really cultural figure, in the world.”
The Dream Team was dominant, with a perfect 8 wins and 0 losses in its 1992 Olympic effort. Today, ‘The Dream Team’ and Michael Jordan specifically, are credited with increasing the cultural significance, prevalence and popularity of basketball on an international stage.
In The Last Dance, ESPN reporter Michael Wilbon explained, “Michael was the face of the Dream Team, and The Dream Team changed everything about international basketball. The Dream Team is entirely responsible for the NBA’s profile taking a massive jump forward. It just shaped how the world felt about the NBA.”
Willow Bay, Host of NBA Inside Stuff, added, “After the Olympics, Michael was the most recognizable, the most popular sports figure, but really cultural figure, in the world. He was really a global superstar. Everyone around the world knew Michael Jordan.”
Michael Jordan & Nike
In 1984, Nike gave Michael Jordan his own signature line of shoes and clothes, which was pivotal in Michael agreeing to sign with Nike. It was the first time the brand did anything like this, and it paved the way for many of the player collaborations we now see. The value of that partnership has increased exponentially over time, with 1985 sales reaching over $100M, and 2022 sales for the Jordan Brand reaching $5.1 Billion.
The partnership instilled Jordan with an incredible sense of loyalty to the brand, which was symbolized as Jordan was forced to take center stage, on perhaps the most global platform in the world, wearing a Reebok jacket.
Jordan took matters into his own hands, preventing the world from seeing him in a Reebok jacket – and demonstrating his loyalty to his partners at Nike.
The jacket is accompanied by a letter from The MeiGray Group in regards to Jordan’s use, with an accompanying photomatching certificate.