The forwards on my choice as the best USA Olympic men’s basketball amateur team ever were as follows:
Joseph William Kleine is a retired American basketball player….who played for the US national team in the 1982 FIBA World Championship….winning the silver medal….then along with his college teammate Alvin Robertson…..won a gold medal as members of the 1984 U.S. Olympic basketball team coached by Bob Knight. Kleine was a seven-foot center / forwar who graduated from Slater High School in Slater, Missouri and originally enrolled to play basketball at the University of Notre Dame. After his freshman season….Kleine transferred to the University of Arkansas where he played alongside Alvin Robertson….who like Kleine….would go on to a productive professional career. Kleine was selected by the Sacramento Kings with the sixth pick in the 1985 NBA Draft. Kleine went on to have a fifteen-year NBA career….playing with the Kings, the Boston Celtics, Phoenix Suns, Los Angeles Lakers, New Jersey Nets, Chicago Bulls, and Portland Trail Blazers. Kleine played on teams with legendary NBA players Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, Scottie Pippen, and Dennis Rodman. He won an NBA championship in 1998….as a center, for a Chicago Bulls team that included Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, and Steve Kerr. His best season was with the Kings in 1985….when he averaged 9.8 PPG. At the time of his retirement from the NBA, he’d scored 4,666 points, had 3,991 total rebounds, and had scored 849 free throws out of 1,069 attempts. Sportswriter Jon Goode would later write in part that “Joe Kleine was never a star, but what made Kleine great was that he accepted his role and was ready to play every night.”
Samuel “Sam” Perkins is an American retired basketball player….who won a gold medal with the US national team at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. Known by the nicknames “Sleepy Sam” and “Big Smooth”….he attended the University of North Carolina….where he was a teammate of future Hall of Famers James Worthy and Michael Jordan.A member of the 1982 NCAA Tournament championship winning Tar Heel squad….he was selected with the fourth pick of the 1984 NBA draft by the Dallas Mavericks….playing in the National Basketball Association (NBA) from 1984 to 2001. In 2008, Perkins was named vice president of player relations for the Indiana Pacers….for whom he played from 1999–2001.In September 2008, Perkins was inducted into the New York City Basketball Hall of Fame along with NBA stars Kenny Anderson and Rod Strickland, coach Pete Gillen and pioneers Lou Bender and Eddie Younger.
Wayman Lawrence Tisdale was an American basketball player and a smooth jazz bass guitarist….who was a three-time All American at the University of Oklahoma…and was elected to the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009. As a college player at the University of Oklahoma from 1982 to 1985….he was a three-time Big Eight Conference Player of the Year….and the first player in collegiate history to be named a first-team All American by the Associated Press in his freshman, sophomore, and junior seasons. He still holds the record at Oklahoma for the most points scored by any player through his freshman and sophomore seasons. He won a gold medal as a member of the 1984 U.S.Olympic basketball team coached by Indiana University’s Bobby Knight. The Indiana Pacers made Tisdale the second overall pick in the 1985 NBA Draft. As a center and power forward….Tisdale averaged over 15 points and six rebounds per game in a 12-season professional career with the Indiana Pacers, Sacramento Kings, and Phoenix Suns. His best season was in 1989–90 with the Kings, when he averaged 22.3 points and 7.5 rebounds a game. Tisdale and Mitch “The Rock” Richmond combined to form one of the most dynamic duos in the NBA. Tisdale retired in 1997 to focus on his musical career.
Jeffrey Steven Turner is a retired American basketball player and broadcasting announcer….who was a member of the Gold Medal 1984 U.S. Olympic basketball team coached by Bobby Knight. Turner also played for the US national team in the 1982 FIBA World Championship….winning the silver medal. Turner played ten NBA seasons (1984–1987; 1989–1996), spending time with the New Jersey Nets as well as the Orlando Magic. He ended his NBA career with 3,697 career points. After his career ended….he spent nine years as a radio color commentator for the Magic. He then served as the head boys basketball coach at Lake Highland Preparatory School in Orlando, Florida from to 2005 to 2013….where he compiled a 151-72 record and won the state title in 2013.
That my dear sports fans is a heck of a group of forwards for an Olympic basketball team.