On this Day: Croatia and USA Basketball ‘Dream Team’ Meet at ’92 Olympics

Daniela Rogulj

August 8, 2019 – On this day in 1992, Croatia met the USA ‘Dream Team’ in the gold medal game of the Olympic in Barcelona. 

There are a handful of games that, some justified, some farfetched, have been declared historic in Croatian sport for more than a quarter of a century. One game which has no debate was the one for the gold medal at the 1992 Olympics when Croatia and the United States met in the final round. It happened on this day, August 8, in the hall of the Palau Municipal d’Esports de Badalona, reports Gol.hr on August 8, 2018.


On the one hand, the American ‘Dream Team’, without any dilemma, presented the best basketball team of all time, led by Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Charles Barkley, Patrick Ewing, David Robinson, John Stockton, Scottie Pippen, Chris Mullin, Karl Malone, Clyde Drexler and Christian Laettner. 

And on the other, Croatia featured Dražen Petrović, Toni Kukoć, Dino Rađa, Velimir Perasović, Danko Cvjetičanin, Vladan Alanović, Žan Tabak, Stojko Vranković, Alan Gregov, Petar Muslim, Arijan Komazec and Aramis Naglić, led by coach Petar Skansi. 

At a time when the Croatian Homeland War was in progress and much of the country was under occupation, Croatian athletes were its best ambassadors. Recall, Goran Ivanišević had just won the first Croatian Olympic medal at the ’92 Games (bronze in the singles competition and bronze in the doubles with Goran Prpić), which helped to put Croatia on the map. Thus, Croatia’s final match against the USA would be watched by the whole world.

Jordan, Magic & Co. were ruthless throughout the entire tournament, not allowing any national team to lead against them at any point. The pattern was always the same – the USA would rip through you like a hurricane from the beginning, creating an unreachable difference. Then, in the second half, the best would sit on the bench so that the minutes would be distributed to the other players. 

However, a fearless Croatia achieved what otherwise seemed unimaginable – and in the middle of the first half, Croatia took the lead! Kukoč gave the ball to Franjo Arapović, who scored for the 25:24 Croatia lead. 


Croatia lost the gold medal game 85:117, though it was a moment that will forever remain recorded in the almanacs of Croatian basketball. If for nothing else, then as a reminder of the level Croatian basketball used to be.

To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page


Subscribe to our newsletter

the fields marked with * are required
Email: *
First name:
Last name:
Gender: Male Female
Please don't insert text in the box below!

Leave a Comment