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By Anonymous

   As the summer draws closer, nations across the world are preparing for the 1992 Olympic Games. Of the numerous events involved, the one that is currently getting the most attention is the basketball competition. After ten years of controversy, the United States will be sending a team made up of professionals. Until now, the U.S. had been sending collegiate all-stars to compete against international pro teams. Due to the expansion of basketball in Europe, the U.S.A. Basketball Committee, headed by Boston Celtics' CEO Dave Gavitt, agreed that N.B.A. players must be sent if the U.S. wished to remain competitive in the future.

Soon after the decision to send professionals was made, both Michael Jordan and Larry Bird said they would not take part in the games. But Bird, who liked the idea of teaming up with long time rival Ervin "Magic" Johnson, decided to accept the invitation. Jordan also reconsidered. After thinking it over, the 1984 gold medalist decided to give it another go.

Joining Jordan and Bird will be Scottie Pippen, Patrick Ewing, Chris Mullen, recently retired Magic Johnson, and a host of other superstars. The big surprise is the absence of Isiah Thomas's name on the guest list. There had been rumors that Michael Jordan threatened to drop out of the games if Thomas were involved. Jordan is believed to have said this because of poor sportsmanship on the part of the Detroit Pistons, following their loss to the Bulls in last year's Eastern Conference finals. Jordan has denied the allegations. More recent rumors indicate that Scottie Pippen has made the same threat. There was some hope for Thomas, when Magic Johnson was forced to retire from basketball due to his acquisition of the H.I.V. virus. For a period of time, Magic's future on the U.S.A. basketball team was uncertain. However, Johnson made it clear that he will be participating in the Summer Games.

The U.S. team is heading in with high expectations. Both the fans and the players will settle for nothing less than the gold from this exciting array of sports legends. Although the United States team will be made up of the best of the N.B.A., it will not be the only nation represented by N.B.A. players. Among others, Celtics' rookie Rick Fox, and Pacers' star center Rick Smitts will be playing for their respective countries. There is no doubt that they would jump at the chance to steal a medal from their pro basketball counterparts. However, if the U.S. takes the games seriously, any other country's vision of winning will remain just a dream.

U.S.A. basketball will kick off in June when they begin the qualifying rounds in Portland, Oregon. Fans are anxiously awaiting the first ever "pro" U.S. basketball team. Come this summer they will be treated to an amazing spectacle, compliments of the greatest team ever created in sports history. n

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