The induction of the original Dream Team into the Basketball Hall of Fame this weekend brought back memories of one very strange ticket-scalping experience.

I was in Barcelona for the 1992 Summer Olympics, assigned to cover the Games for the Deseret News; and, in particular, to cover the Olympic basketball tournament since two members of the Utah Jazz, John Stockton and Karl Malone, were on the Dream Team.

It was the first time NBA professionals were playing for the U.S., a development that extended back to the previous Olympics in Seoul, South Korea, where the usual collection of American college players, used to routinely sashaying every four years to the top rung of the podium, got sand kicked in their face by the veteran "pros" playing for the Soviet Union, many of whom had gained experience and expertise by playing against NBA players and teams.

Next time, America would send the best of the NBA. It was basketball's version of running the flag up Mount Suribachi.

Who knew the USSR would collapse over the next four years and there wouldn't even be a basketball team from the Soviet Union entered in Barcelona?

Didn't matter. The wheels were in motion and the United States of America, lord protectorate of the game of basketball since its invention in a gym in Massachusetts, set about assembling a team that could swagger into any gym on earth like John Wayne entering a saloon.

This was a team that could send Stockton, Malone, Ewing, Pippen and Drexler onto the floor en masse.

And that was just to set the stage for Magic, Bird, Jordan, Barkley and Robinson.

For the start of the Olympics, my son Eric, his friend Cameron and a friend of mine, Paul Harman, had traveled with me to make sure I could find Spain — and to see as many of the early Olympic events as possible before flying back home.

The Dream Team's opener against Angola was tops on the list.

Trouble was, we didn't have any tickets.

But how hard could it be?

The game was a complete sellout. However, as hoped, loitering around the edges of the arena were the usual ticket scalpers. Almost all of them were Americans who had bought blocks of tickets ahead of time in anticipation of high demand for Dream Team games.

The asking price was between $200 and $400 for $20 tickets.

We figured we'd wait them out. The price would drop dramatically, as it always does, once the game started.

We staked out a likeable scalper from Los Angeles whom we'd gotten to know. A couple of minutes after tipoff we offered him $50 a ticket.

He countered at $150. We reacted like he was out of his mind. He shook his head, turned around and headed straight for the arena.

"But you'll eat those tickets," we called out.

"No I won't," he answered over his shoulder. "I'm going to the game. I love the Dream Team."

If it was a bluff, it was a good one. About 10 seconds later we bought his tickets for $150. Each.

By the time we got in the arena the score was USA 46, Angola 1.

The final score was 116-48.

Angola got scalped worse than we did.

But so what — it was history. Money well-spent and all that.

With my press pass, I would eventually see every one of the Dream Team's eight games in those Olympics. To be perfectly honest, at times it got kind of boring. The team won by an average of 43.8 points, no opponent got closer than 32 points, and Chuck Daly, the head coach, set an Olympic record that will never be broken by calling zero timeouts.

But I enjoyed talking to Stockton and Malone after every game. And the highlight was watching the display of unbridled joy when that team of multimillionaires received their winning medals and stood at attention to listen to the national anthem.

In a ceremony Friday night in Massachusetts, 18 summers later, the members of the Dream Team, all now retired, entered the Hall of Fame en masse.

And I just know that somewhere in Los Angeles, a ticket scalper, presumably also retired, was cheering for them.

Lee Benson's column runs Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. Please send e-mail to benson@desnews.com.