The Other Dream Team: Lithuanian Basketballers at the Olympics

In 1992, Lithuania participated in its first Olympics as a sovereign country. Its basketball team featured a number of marquee players from the old Soviet team that had defeated the U.S. in ’88, but had very little money for the Barcelona games. Having defected a few years earlier to play for the Golden State Warriors, star Lithuanian guard and ex-Sonic Šarunas Marciulionis helped convince The Grateful Dead to finance his team’s journey. The band’s generosity extended to the creation of tie-dye warmup shirts that the Lithuanians wore on the (bronze) medal stand, upstaging the gold won by America’s “dream team.” Featuring interviews with the likes of Bill Walton, Mickey Hart, and David Remnick, Marius Markevicius’ Sundance-selected documentary has all the makings of a stellar addition to ESPN’s 30 for 30 series, and that’s where it may end up. But the film, seen at SIFF this spring, could use a fresh edit first: While Lithuania’s struggle for emancipation is critical to the story, Markevicius spends far too long recounting it, and his baffling decision to incorporate current basketball prospect Jonas Valanciunas into the picture eats up even more screen time that would have been better devoted to the games themselves, a section that seems hurried in the current cut.