The U.S. is playing Angola in its opening game, on July 26. The score is 91-3 with six minutes left when an Angolan player rises near the bench, runs over to the baseline and aims his camera directly into Pippen's face. Pippen blinks as the flashbulb goes off, and his Angolan opponent, a spunky 5'3" power forward, goes around him for a layup to cut the score to 91-5. Pippen laughs as Daly ponders calling a timeout. But up in the stands a clever scout from Lithuania elbows a colleague and says, "I think that we've got something here."
Come the gold medal game, every Lithuanian player smuggles a flash camera into the arena under his warmup suit. Each time a Dream Teamer drifts close to the Lithuanian bench, one of the players seated there rises and snaps a photo. Gradually the U.S. players see nothing but dark spots—afterimages, in the ophthalmological lexicon. They begin missing shots, throwing passes into the seats and, most embarrassingly, stumbling to the wrong bench during timeouts, where people are talking in a language they do not understand. With five minutes left in the game and the Dream Team trailing by six, Daly is taken to a nearby hospital. Gamely the U.S. battles to the end but can't overcome the plucky band of Lithuanian snapshooters.
After the game several of the Lithuanians ask for autographs, at which point Barkley bashes one of them over the head with a camera. "Ah," says Charles, "the mind of Minolta."
•The Up and Down Scenario. In this case Up and Down is not a ball-handling violation but an upscale disco in the Diagonal area of Barcelona, the kind of place where young, handsome millionaires (and soon-to-be millionaires like Christian Laettner, the former Duke star who was drafted in the first round by the Minnesota Timberwolves) are apt to spend some free time. So...
On the night before the gold medal game, Barkley decides to take young Mr. Laettner out for a night on the town. "You better come," Barkley tells him, "because once you join the Timberwolves, you won't be having fun." Bird, Ewing and Malone pile into the limo with them.
No one's looking for trouble, but unfortunately, sometime after midnight two drunken tourists who happen to be graduates of Villanova start riding Ewing about the 1985 NCAA championship game, in which Ewing's Georgetown team was upset by their alma mater. Bird, who became fast friends with Ewing during the Portland tournament, immediately intercedes. "Hey, Bird, if you were black, you'd be just another player," says someone from another table. Bird starts after the guy until Barkley pulls him away. "Hey, fatso!" someone shouts at Barkley from another table, "I'm from Milwaukee, and I think you stink." When Barkley starts toward that offender, Laettner grabs a chair and says, "The NBA. It's FAN-tastic!"
Well, one thing leads to another, and the next thing anybody knows, the five Olympians are behind bars. It turns out that the Barcelona chief of police is buddies with the member of San Juan's finest who mixed it up with U.S. coach Bobby Knight at the Pan Am Games several years ago. "American hoop guys," says the chief, shaking his head, "they are all loco." By the time Carlesimo rushes into the police station with bail money—"Let's get outta here," he says. "Last time I checked, Robinson had three fouls"—it's halftime, and by the time the Dream Teamers collect their belongings, sign autographs for the policía and get to the arena, there's only one minute left and the U.S. is down by five. With Daly having already been taken to a nearby hospital, assistant coach Lenny Wilkens rushes Barkley, Ewing and Malone into the game, but Lithuania hangs on to win by one.
"It's all Christian's fault," says Barkley.