The 1996 USA women’s basketball team finally gets the stardom it deserves.
As the WNBA enters its 25th year, ESPN is releasing a special 3-part “30 for 30” documentary highlighting the 1996 Women’s Olympic Basketball Team titled “Dream.” The series will giving viewers a never-before-seen look at the 11 women who made up the ’96 Dream Team, including interviews that have never aired before.
How to watch
- Date: Wednesday June 15
- Time: 8 p.m. ET
- Channel: ESPN
However, there are some things viewers should know about the team before watching the documentary.
Tryouts for the Women’s Olympic Basketball Team took place in Colorado Springs, Colorado, a year before the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. The seven-day open trials brought together the best players in women’s college basketball in the 1990s. 11 women were selected to form the dream team.
Guards: Jennifer Azzi, Ruthie Bolton, Teresa Edwards, Nikki McCray, Dawn Staley; Forwards: Rebecca Lobo, Katy Steding, Sheryl Swoopes, Katrina McClain; Centers: Lisa Leslie and Carla McGhee. The Head Coach: Tara Van Derveer
Since each woman came from different backgrounds, the task of not only playing well, but also winning gold at the 1996 Summer Olympics was not easy. To help ensure success before playing in the Olympics, the team played in a series of games in Europe and the United States.
Along with being tasked with winning gold at the 1996 Olympics, the Dream Team also had to dominate in every game they played. Prior to the summer games, the team played a total of 52 gameswinning each of them before entering the Olympics.
The Dream Team have won all eight of their games played in Summer Games, taking their record to 60-0.
Creation of the WNBA
At the time the 1996 USA women’s basketball team was forming, the NBA was considering the possibility of creation of a professional women’s basketball team. However, the league was looking for a way to attract the same type of attention as an NBA game.
On the heels of finishing the Olympics with an undefeated record and developing a fan base for women’s basketball across the country, the NBA decided to launch the WNBA.
With 12 active teams and 25 years of existence, the WNBA still makes an impact in its own way.
With players like Sabrina Ionescu of the New York Liberty, who now holds the record for most triple doublesto Phoenix Mercury’s Brittney Griner, still wrongfully detained in Russia, the WNBA is making headlines in a way that was normally reserved for NBA players and teams.
As the league continues to gain the recognition and respect it truly deserves, it’s important to remember that without the 11 women charged with being women’s basketball’s greatest force, there’s no telling where we would be. the WNBA today.