Angola Vs. Dream Team: A World Of Difference An Angolan Player Can Only Wonder At The Nba Stars' Lifestyle Of The Rich And Famous.

Posted: July 24, 1992

BARCELONA — Jose Carlos Guimaraes, who calls himself the second-best player on the Angolan national basketball team, plays professional ball in Portugal and says he makes a good living.

"I can buy a car. I can buy a house. I can go to the disco and buy a beer," Guimaraes says.

And so, Jose Carlos, someone asked, do you consider yourself rich?

"Oh, no," Guimaraes said. "The Dream Team - they are rich. They would laugh at me."

The Dream Team, for the uninitiated, is the U.S. Olympic men's basketball team, and it is filled with NBA stars who might make more than the national budget of Angola.

But Guimaraes, who is 28 years old, does have one thing on the Dream Team members: He speaks English, Spanish, Portuguese, an African dialect and even a little Russian.

"My girlfriend used to work in Moscow," he said. "I would visit her."

It is believed that the number of languages spoken by all the members of the Dream Team combined is one.

"But they have that other language," Guimaraes said. "Money."

The Angolan team will play the Dream Team on Sunday in the opening Olympic game for both teams.

Yesterday, the Americans continued their week of training camp in Monte Carlo, perhaps the world capital of gratuitous wealth, a place where a Coke costs $5.

Yesterday, the Angolan team practiced at Palau d'Sports de Badalona. There were clouds of dust in the air. There was hammering and sawing. There was chicken wire around construction that wasn't yet complete.

This did not faze Guimaraes or his teammates. They were happy to be in Barcelona, staying in the athletes' village and drinking free Cokes.

"I know the Dream Team is staying in fancy hotel when they come," Guimaraes said. "We stay in village, with very small rooms and very small beds for very big men. But that is no problem. The Dream Team - they are famous, so they get the hotel. We are not famous, so no hotel."

Guimaraes seemed a bit stunned by all the attention he received yesterday. He was the only Angolan player available who spoke English. Teammate Jean Jacques Conceicao, the Angolans' best player, also speaks English, but he will be carrying the Angolan flag in tomorrow's opening ceremonies, so he was given the day off.

Whenever Guimaraes was asked a question about himself, he would look around, then point at his chest and say: "Me?"

"I am not often asked to speak like this to so many people," he said.

But on the court, during practice, Guimaraes was not shy. He had several shouting bouts with coach Victorino Cunha. The two went nose to nose once.

"He is the coach, I am the player, so I must do what coach says," Guimaraes said. "But for me, he is not good coach. But for team, he is only one we have. So what to do?"

There would be a big controversy in the United States if, say, Charles Barkley had a hissing match with Chuck Daly. But for Cunha and Guimaraes, this was daily fare.

On one thing, Cunha and Guimaraes agreed: To beat the United States on Sunday would be impossible. That's the word both used. Impossible.

To observers who watched the Angolans practice for two hours, who watched them miss dunks and layups, dribble the ball off their feet and trip on the floor, who noticed that they needed to gain about 20 pounds each, impossible seemed much too optimistic.

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