So like all you basketball freaks, I’m watching and loving the Dream Team documentary. Chips are flying down the gullet, cucumber slices are getting tossed into my water glass, just to make an awesome experience all the more luxuriant. And what do I see?
Oh, it’s the UCSD auxiliary gymnasium, a cruddy building I’ve played pick up ball in hundreds of times from age 15 on. It looks like an indistinguishable high school gym and apparently, it hasn’t changed at all since 1992, when the Dream Team practiced there. This dimly lit sweat box played host to the Greatest Team Ever and its famous, possibly contrived lone defeat at the hands of some scrappy American college players.
This is exciting in the shallow way that a familiar site can be thrilling when broadcast on the glowscreen. Except, what the hell? You’re telling me that I grew up in this neighborhood, went to this gym all the time, and NOBODY THOUGHT TO NOTIFY ME???
In the creatively named “Main Gym,” there are no loud reminders of what happened in 1992. And it’s not like UCSD has some rich sports tradition that would have shoved this memory to the side. The “arena” is secondary to the UCSD’s larger RIMAC center, where they hold all their basketball tournaments these days. This unwaxed splinter trap should be a devoted museum to the Dream Team memory, seeing as it has no modern purpose other than to host pick up games between wheezing professors, and interrupt those pick up games with impromptu badminton practices.
“Oh what’s that? You want to keep playing a popular American sport? SORRY, IT’S SHUTTLECOCK TIME! Stop playing basketball, we need to defile the air Michael Jordan once breathed by batting at a cat toy!”
My adolescence could have been 10% better had I known that this was hallowed ground, had I been blessed with the opportunity to conjure Barkley dunking over Malone on the basket I was driving at. But I wasn’t told because San Diego is the worst sports town in the universe, and nobody thinks about anything save for how to chemically enhance enjoyment of the next wave. You people are the worst. I’m glad Sterling took the team.