No. 10 - Juwan Howard, Washington Bullets
Stats: 17 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists
Game: 1/14/1997 vs. Chicago Bulls
Teaming with his Fab Five frontcourt mate Chris Webber, Howard was excellent on this night against the Bulls, a team that went on to win 69 games and an NBA title. He showed his ability to score efficiently in the post and dig in against formidable Bulls power forward Dennis Rodman. Despite clashing all night with this seven-time member of the NBA’s All-Defensive First Team, Howard shot an efficient 7-of-13 from the floor as his team overcame a nine point deficit to nearly steal a game on the road in Chicago.
No. 9 - Scottie Pippen, United States
Stats: 24 points, 2 rebounds, 4 assists
Game: 7/26/1996 vs. China
While it wasn’t quite as stacked as the previous Olympics’ “Dream Team,” the 1996 USA squad was equally dominant on its way to winning the gold medal. In this group stage game, Pippen led the charge in his Nike Air More Uptempo, overwhelming China with his size and attacking the rim with ease leading to a 63-point blowout win for the Americans.
No. 8 - Gilbert Arenas, Washington Wizards
Stats: 20 points, 3 rebounds, 6 assists, 4 steals, 1 block
Game: - 12/10/2010 New York Knicks
No longer Agent Zero, Gilbert Arenas still made a splash when he wore the Nike Air More Uptempo. While many of his teammates struggled to find a groove, the point guard single-handedly kept the Wizards in the game—scoring from both the perimeter and at the rim, as well as created numerous turnovers and fast break chances for his team on the defensive end.
No. 7 - Scottie Pippen, Chicago Bulls
Stats: 24 points, 8 rebounds, 8 assists, 3 steals, 1 block
Game: 4/28/1996 vs. Miami Heat
Pippen was outstanding during this first round playoff game, filling up the stat sheet and guiding the Bulls to a win over the heat. He wreaked havoc from the perimeter, burying three three-pointers as well as several long jumpers. Normally someone who took it to the hoop, Pippen totally threw off the Heat with this new strategy and allowed his team to open up a 25 point lead by halftime and cruise to an easy victory.
No. 6 - Charles Barkley, United States
Stats: 14 points, 12 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals
Game: 7/28/1996 vs. Croatia
The Olympics typically don’t allow for gaudy statistical performances, as the U.S. makes a point of it to get all its players in the game and contributing equally. However, against Croatia in Atlanta, Charles Barkley stood out anyway. Dominating the paint, Sir Charles humbled the Croatians and bullied them all over the court as he led the US to an easy 31-point win.
No. 5 - Scottie Pippen, Chicago Bulls
Stats: 21 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals, 3 blocks
Game: 5/6/1996 vs. Seattle Supersonics
Often tasked with guarding the incredibly athletic Shawn Kemp, Scottie Pippen put on an absolute clinic in Game 1 of the NBA Finals. The Bulls’ forward stayed with Kemp and also rose to create plenty of offense of his own. He got it done defensively by generating numerous turnovers and momentum-changing plays, while also burying three three-pointers and corralling five offensive rebounds on the other end of the floor. This widespread impact helped the Bulls open up the series with a resounding 17-point win.
No. 4 - Juwan Howard, Washington Bullets
Stats: 33 points, 3 rebounds, 5 assists
Game: 1/17/1997 vs. Miami Heat
Howard had it going on against the Heat. The Bullets’ center shot an incredibly efficient 13-of-18 from the floor. His played 45 minutes on the night while battling with the Heat’s Alonzo Mourning, a player who twice won the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year award. Unfortunately for Howard, his tremendous night was not enough to guide his Bullets team to a win, as they could not overcome an abysmal four-point game from their other star, Chris Webber.
No. 3 - Scottie Pippen, Chicago Bulls
Stats: 27 points, 6 rebounds, 7 assists, 2 steals, 1 block
Game: 5/25/1996 vs. Orlando Magic
The Bulls faced an incredible test in the Orlando Magic, as they sought to avenge a playoff elimination at the hands of Shaq, Penny and co. the previous year. Pippen was ruthless , shooting a ridiculous 11-of-14 from the floor and completely shutting the Magic offense down as his team took an 86-67 win.
No. 2 - Charles Barkley, United States
Stats: 24 points, 11 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 1 block
Game: 8/1/1996 vs. Australia
Even for a team as stacked as the U.S. was, an Olympic semi-final is a game not to be taken lightly; it is, after all, an elimination game. Charles Barkley clearly got the message, as he thrashed Australia and led the U.S. into the gold medal game. Barkley got out in the open court and created numerous fast break opportunities for his team, setting the tone for his entire team.
No. 1 - Scottie Pippen, Chicago Bulls
Stats: 22 points, 18 rebounds, 10 assists, 1 steal, 3 blocks
Game: 5/1/1996 vs. Miami Heat
Pippen was renowned for his versatility, and in eliminating the Miami Heat in Game 3 of their first round playoff series that quality was on full display. The Bulls’ forward did it all, amassing a ridiculous eight offensive rebounds and finding open teammates all over the court for 10 assists. This ability to facilitate allowed all the Bulls’ starters to score double digit points as they blew Miami off the floor from the game’s opening quarter, scoring 37 points in the opening frame alone.