Basketball: Barcelona awaits the Magic show
Saturday 04 July 1992
After all, they are among the highest paid sportsmen in the world and play day-in day-out in a notoriously tough professional league at the highest standard in the world. And the way they whizzed through the qualifying tournament in Portland, Oregon this week, beating Canada, Cuba, Panama and Argentina by an average of a clear 56 points, shows they are fully capable of living up to their billing as the biggest certainties - not to mention biggest stars - at Barcelona.
Their last game in the qualifying tournament, against Argentina, was an omen of what the rest can expect at the Games. Jordan, the greatest current player in the sport, scored 24 points as the Americans bewildered their outclassed opponents with speed of thought and hand. They whipped up a 38-11 lead in no time, and were never less than 30 points in front throughout the second half, winning 128-87.
The Argentines bowed to the inevitable early on, and spent the half-time interval badgering the Americans for autographs.
As well as Jordan, the United States have Johnson, who made worldwide headlines when he admitted he was HIV-positive last year. Johnson immediately retired from the game he had dominated by leading the LA Lakers to five NBA titles, but is in the Olympic squad. 'You dream of a chance to represent your country in the Olympics because it's the greatest show in the world,' he said.
Certainly the team is in the mood to make it so, according to Chuck Barkley, who hit 23 points against Argentina. 'This is fun for us,' he said. 'We play golf in the morning, shoot a few baskets in the evening and then play cards at the hotel. It's like a vacation.'
Latest in Sport
Phil Jagielka: I may never win back England place, says Everton defender
Mario Balotelli: Staff at arson-hit Manchester Dogs' Home convinced Liverpool striker is behind five-figure donation
Rio Ferdinand mocks Jamie Carragher's Liverpudlian accent... but Liverpool man hits back at Londoner
Colombian women's cycling team kit that makes wearer appear naked is branded 'unacceptable' by UCI president
Just like Cristiano Ronaldo and Manchester United, Gareth Bale says he hopes to return to Tottenham 'one day'
- 2 Friends 20th anniversary: Alison Jackson photographs reunited cast
- 3 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 5 Free U2 album: How the most generous giveaway in music history turned into a PR disaster
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Scottish independence: The Queen breaks silence on referendum debate – as think tank warns of £14bn black hole if Scotland votes Yes
£75 - £90 per day + negotiable: Randstad Education Group: Are you a cover supe...
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...
£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...
£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...