In addition to lifting the NBA to new heights and cementing themselves as two of the league’s greatest players of all-time, Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan also made an impact on an international level.
Talented as the 1992 United States men’s Olympic basketball team was, Johnson and Jordan stood out among the giants. Team USA tore their way through the Olympics, winning each of their six games by at least 38 points en route to a Gold Medal.
Although that set the standard for USA Basketball, the program began to fall behind other countries. After uninspiring showings, an overhaul led to the 2008 Olympics saw the Redeem Team, which Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant was part of.
A basketball historian and Gold Medalist himself, Bryant began with Johnson and Jordan when asked to assemble an all-time starting lineup for Team USA, via FIBA:
“I’d go Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Hakeem Olajuwon, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.”
Last October, Bryant was named a FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 Global Ambassador. He was on hand in Shenzhen, China for the 2019 FIBA World Cup draw, which resulted in the U.S. landing in Group 3 with Czech Republic, Japan and Turkey.
The World Cup begins Aug. 31.