True Hoop’s Henry Abbott already linked to an item from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s Jan Hubbard, alleging that Isiah Thomas was omitted from the 1992 USA Olympic basketball squad due to considerable animus on the part of Larry Bird, Michael Jordan and Karl Malone.
However, as Hubbard points out, that wasn’t even the biggest USA Basketball diss of all time.
The next biggest snub? That’s an easy one. It also involved the 1992 team, which included one college player. USA Basketball officials selected Christian Laettner of Duke, primarily because he had played for a number of U.S. teams.
Passed over, however, was Shaquille O’Neal, who had passed on playing for several U.S. teams. Laettner was rewarded for his loyalty, but O’Neal was the No. 1 pick in the 1992 draft, and far and away the most dominant college player.
That oversight is one of the largest embarrassments in USA Basketball history.