American rock band that sponsored the Lithuanian national basketball team
An icon of psychedelic and hippie culture, the American rock band the Grateful Dead sponsored the Lithuanian national basketball team at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.
The Glory of Winning Gold Medals and the Hardships of National Independence
The episode goes back to the 1988 Seoul Olympics. With players such as Arbidas Sabonis and Sarnas Marciulionis, who would go on to play for the NBA and the Lithuania national team, in the semi-finals they defeated the United States, who would form a dream team four years later, 82-76, and in the finals the group was grouped by goal difference. The Soviet Union national team won the gold medal by defeating Yugoslavia, a powerhouse that had passed the league first place, 76-63.
In 1991, when Lithuania became independent from the Soviet Union and became a Lithuanian nationality, the influential player moved to the American NBA, and expectations for the Barcelona Olympics the following year increased. However, since it was just after independence, he was struggling with cash flow. The members of the American rock band "Grateful Dead", with whom Charnas Marciulionis, who was transferred to the NBA Golden State Warriors after his success at the Seoul Olympics, had a relationship at the time, heard about it and offered to sponsor it. raised.
T-shirt design that caused a movement
We made a T-shirt with an original design of a skeleton dunking on fabric dyed with the three colors of the Lithuanian flag, yellow, green, and red. is doing well. The Lithuanian national team successfully raised funds to participate in the Olympics.
Speaking of basketball at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, it was the first year that the American national team formed a "dream team." Led by Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Patrick Ewing, Scottie Pippen, Karl Malone, Charles Barkley, Magic Johnson, David Robinson, Clyde Drexler and other NBA star corps. In the semi-finals, Lithuania was defeated by a large margin of 76-127 and advanced to the third place play-off against the USA, who continued to win overwhelmingly by scoring 100 points or more in all games including the group stage. rice field.
3rd place match with a fated opponent
Their opponents in the 3rd place match, the EUN representative (a team made up of 12 countries including the former Soviet Union), were in the same group for Lithuania in the group league and had conceded first place due to goal difference. The former Seoul Olympic champions, the Soviet Union, played for the EUN national team at the Barcelona Olympics, so they are positioned as the previous Olympic champions. In addition to that, as it was a match against an opponent country that gained independence in 1991, I faced the match with extraordinary emotions, a back-and-forth battle. Leveraging the skills and experience of Alvidas Sabonis and Śarnas Marciurionis, who led the Soviet Union to victory four years ago, the Lithuania national team won a breathtaking 82-78 victory, earning a bronze medal in their first Olympic appearance since independence. I was.
Oddly enough, after four years in the Seoul Olympics, which had a similar result to that of the United States, which won the bronze medal, he finished his first appearance as a member of the Lithuania national team with a brilliant result of winning a medal. And behind that achievement, there was a dark and long period of hardship until independence and the "assist" of an American rock band.
The Other Dream Team
Here is a documentary film that depicts the journey of hardship and glory. It is highly recommended for those who want to deepen the history of basketball with the comments of the players at that time and the images from that time.
"Another Dream Team"
Source: "The Other Dream Team"