The Macromanagement Trap

When the Olympic Committee allowed NBA superstars to participate in Olympic basketball, it seemed like a Team USA victory would be a done deal every year. In Barcelona’s 1992 Olympic Games, Team USA featured Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, and Larry Bird. It was like “Elvis and the Beatles playing together,” according to head coach Chuck Daly.1 The “Dream Team” was bigger, stronger, more famous, more talented than any other, and their market value exceeded everyone else’s. Even players from other countries mobbed them for autographs. The dream team would play to roaring crowds with pregame dunk shows, while the opposing teams quietly practiced their free throws on the other side. The talent level was so far ...

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