The Other Dream Team

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The Other Dream Team
The Other Dream Team poster.jpg
Directed by Marius A. Markevičius
Produced by Marius A. Markevičius
Jon Weinbach
Written by Jon Weinbach
Marius A. Markevicius
Starring Jim Lampley
Bill Walton
Arvydas Sabonis
Cinematography Jesse Feldman
Edited by Dan Marks
Production
company
The Basketball Future Foundation, Sorrento Productions, Berliner 76 Entertainment
Release date
  • January 21, 2012 (2012-01-21) (Sundance)
Country Lithuania
United States
Language English, Lithuanian
Budget $500,000
Box office $133,778

The Other Dream Team is a documentary film directed by Marius A. Markevičius. It covers the inspirational story of the 1992 Lithuania national basketball team and their journey to the bronze medal at the Summer Olympics in Barcelona. The film not only looks at the Lithuanian team but also at the broader historical events. The fall of the Soviet Union allowed Lithuania to reestablish its independence and enter the Olympics as an independent country. After 50 years of Soviet oppression, the Lithuanian basketball team was a symbol of hope and liberation.[1]

The film includes interviews with many famous basketball figures such as Arvydas Sabonis, David Stern, Jim Lampley, Bill Walton, and Šarūnas Marčiulionis. The title is an allusion to the Dream Team, the first American Olympic basketball team to feature active NBA players.

Filming[edit]

Marius A. Markevičius is a Lithuanian-American director.[2] It took him over three years to make this film. The documentary combines historical footage with new interviews. During filming, the Lithuanians were asked to speak in English for the interviews. But because of the emotional nature of the topic, speaking in their native tongue was easier.[2] A series of cutaway scenes follows an up-and-coming Lithuanian player, Jonas Valančiūnas, from his native Utena to the 2011 NBA draft. The documentary also shows Arvydas Sabonis being inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 2011.[3]

Content[edit]

Lithuanian basketball players, notably Arvydas Sabonis and Šarūnas Marčiulionis, played for the Soviet Union national basketball team in the 1988 Olympics in Seoul. There were four starters from Lithuania who were on the Soviet team. The players were promised that they could play on western teams if they won gold, which they did with a 76-63 victory over Yugoslavia. Marčiulionis became the first Soviet player to join the NBA. Sabonis was actually the first Lithuanian to be drafted onto an American team but because of the Iron Curtain he was not allowed to leave. Not only that but Americans did not like that he was a "Russian" player. (During a TV interview featured in the film, Sabonis pointed out that he was not Russian but Lithuanian.)

The Lithuanian team had a small budget allocated to them for the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona. Because of an article written in a local newspaper, the Grateful Dead was moved by the team's plight and funded their trip to the Olympics.[4][5] Artist Greg Speirs [6] [7] from New York was also moved by the team's plight and created the iconic Slam-Dunking Skeleton on the tie-dye shirts[1][7] which were made in the colors of the Lithuanian flag. The skeleton pictured on the shirt was slam-dunking a basketball symbolizing a phoenix rising from the ashes according to the artist who created it.

The Lithuanian team had no illusions of beating the American Dream Team in the semifinals, and the U.S. ended up winning 127-76. In the bronze medal game, Lithuania was pitted against the Unified Team, made up of all of the post-Soviet states except the Baltic states of Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia. The game became a larger symbol of a reborn Lithuania fighting for its freedom and recognition. It was a close, nerve-wracking game that the Lithuanians could not lose. In the end, the Lithuanians defeated the Unified Team 82-78. The team wore their slam dunking skeleton tie-dye uniforms to accept their bronze medals.[7]

Reception[edit]

It was an official selection for the Sundance Film Festival and entered in the U.S. Documentary Competition in 2012. It received 88% Critic Rating on Rotten Tomatoes.[citation needed] It had a limited theatrical release starting September 28, 2012.[8] It was also nominated for the Producers Guild of America Award for Best Documentary in 2012.

Aftermath[edit]

Not only does the documentary look at the events leading up to the 1992 Olympics, it also shows an up & coming Lithuanian player, Jonas Valanciunas, before the NBA draft in 2011. This shows the result of what his parents fought for. The documentary also shows Arvydas Sabonis being inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 2011.[9] Sales of the tie dyed T-shirts continued from which the skeleton art's creator, Greg Speirs donated all (100%) of his profits realized amounting to $450,000.[4] to continue to fund the team as well as Lithuanian children's charities and acquired 'major sponsor' status.[10][4][5]

Cast[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]