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The Grateful Dead and basketball? 'The Other Dream Team' film tells Lithuania's story

Lithuania beat the odds to secure a bronze medal in Barcelona.

Image: Susan Ragan/AP/Press Association Images

A NEW DOCUMENTARY has been released following the path of the Lithuanian basketball team prior to the 1992 Olympic Games.

The documentary is entitled ‘The Other Dream Team’, making reference to the all-conquering American squad – led by Michael Jordan – that won gold in Barcelona that year.

Set against the backdrop of the liberation of Lithuania from the Soviet Union in 1990, the film tells of the country’s struggle to even field a team.

Sarunas Marciulionis, who was part of the USSR team that beat USA at the Seoul Olympics in 1988, explains how funding from an unlikely source enabled Lithuania to compete in Barcelona. When American rock band The Grateful Dead heard of their plight, they decided to step in and assist.

They provided the team with training equipment and vests with some typically striking imagery, and against all odds, Lithuania proved a revelation in Spain.

Lithuania secured a bronze medal in Barcelona by defeating Russia in the third-place playoff and Marciulionis is glad the country’s story will be heard in the new documentary.

“Freedom is a value, camaraderie, things that if you work really hard you can accomplish something and reach your goals. It is a joy that things that you do makes nations happy,” he said.

After his eight-year stint in the USA, Marciulionis returned to Lithuania and set up the North European Basketball League – now known as the Baltic Basketball League.

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