Today, we share the season premiere episode of Diversion Podcasts' hit basketball podcast, "The Dream Team Tapes". After taking fans inside the thrilling memories and personal stories of the 1992 Dream Team, host Jack McCallum returns with fellow sportswriter J.A. Adande to give listeners an up-close look at the spiritual successor to that group, the 2008 "Redeem Team".
Featuring rare audio and interviews from the players, coaches and personnel that were central to the team, the 10-episode season features Jack and J.A, as they give an insider's study of the 2008 US Olympic Men's Basketball Team and how modern day legends like LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Dwayne and Dwayne Wade, came together to not only restore USA Basketball's reputation on the global stage after their humiliating 2004 defeat, but changed a basketball culture that had grown toxic in the years following the Dream Team's world conquest in 1992.
Episodes 1 & 2 are currently available for download and feature Jack & J.A. as they begin their fascinating exploration of the 2008 "Redeem Team" and how the team not only made the tough and fundamental move of changing a culture, but also marked an historical inflection point in NBA basketball that set the stage for everything — and every superstar player — that has come since.
Highlights and quotes with timestamps from episode 1 can be found below:
- Michael Jordan telling J.A. that he was adamantly against USA Basketball continuing to use the "Dream Team" beyond 1992 (23:42-24:20): "There's only one Dream Team! The rest are duplicates."
- Charles Barkley succinctly defining his experience playing in the 1996 Atlanta Games (25:08-25:30): "It was a fucking nightmare."
- Carmelo Anthony shares how watching Kobe Bryant open up to the guys was his most memorable experience from 2008 (10:54-12:22): "You saw him slowly letting his guard down and those bricks beginning to fall. He was fully immersed in what we were doing…You almost felt a sense of victory seeing him laughing the way he was laughing, communicating with the guys and sharing stories."
- Phil Jackson reflects on asking Kobe about his approach to leading the 2008 Redeem Team (12:24-13:07): "I talked to him about playing in the Olympics and he talked about the amount of fun they had. I asked him about various characters, Dwayne Wade and Lebron and if they could keep up with him or if he drilled them as hard as his teammates. He did all of that."