Sweat, dedication and strength are representations of basketball, but for one team basketball meant so much more. After independence from the Soviet Union, the Lithuanian basketball team participated in the 1992 Olympics with the outcome of three bronze medals and a nation united. The journey and team that brought the nation together define The Other Dream Team, a story about one country’s struggle and overcoming obstacles.
For 50 years before the ’92 Olympics, the Lithuanian athletes were forced to compete at the Olympics for the USSR. After their debut as the Lithuanian basketball team, the country’s pride as an independent nation grew stronger.
Director Marius Markevicius brings to light the experiences and story of the Lithuanian team’s struggle for respect and recognition in his documentary The Other Dream Team. Political movements such as the fall of the Berlin Wall overshadowed Lithuania’s independence and their obstacle of becoming a unified nation. The team’s participation in the Barcelona games was their chance at having recognition and a turning point for Lithuania. Although they were the underdogs playing against legends like Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson, they pushed through and rose to winning bronze medals. It wasn’t easy.
Several factors helped their team to victory over independence. The band Grateful Dead heard about Lithuanian’s freedom and independence movement, which sparked their interest to help. They donated wrote a check for a large amount and sent a box of tie-dye shirts with Lithuanian colors. Across the globe, a New York artist, Greg Speirs heard about the country’s struggle and new formed basketball team that he contributed to help. He designed the iconic “Skullman” image on the team’s tie-dye shirt. These components of the Barcelona Olympics restored Lithuania’s hope.
The Other Dream Team is set to release Nov. 9 at Violet Crown Cinema in Austin, located on 434 W. 2nd St. The film is only out in select theaters around the nation. For more information about the film check out Violet Crown Cinema’s website.