OKLHOMA CITY, July 12, 2012 — It has long been said that the greatest team of any sort ever assembled was the 1992 Dream Team, the first time the US allowed NBA players to participate in the Olympics.
The ‘92 team had Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird among others.
So could this year’s Olympic squad featuring Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Kevin Durant beat the Dream Team? Bryant thinks so.
“Well, just from a basketball standpoint, they obviously have a lot more size than we do you know, with Robinson and Ewing and Malone and those guys,” Bryant recently told reporters. “But they were also, some of those wing players, were also a lot older, at kind of the end of their careers. We have just a bunch of young racehorses, guys that are eager to compete. So I don’t know. It’d be a tough one, but I think we’d pull it out.”
Dream Teamer Charles Barkley was the first to respond.
“How old is Kobe Bryant? He’s 34? And he’s calling us old? Michael Jordan and me were the same age. We were both 29.” Barkley went on to tell reporters, “Other than Kobe, LeBron and Kevin Durant, I don’t think anybody else on that team makes our team.”
But it didn’t stop there. Jordan reportedly laughed when told of Byrant’s comments.
“For him to make that comparison, it’s one of those things where it creates conversation,” Jordan said. “I guess we’ll never know. I’d like to think that we had 11 Hall of Famers on that team and whenever they get 11 Hall of Famers you call and ask me who had the better Dream Team.”
Jordan added, “Remember now, they learned from us. We didn’t learn from them.”
What Bryant said is really not that bad. What’s he supposed to say? That his team would get beat. Also, he said that they would “pull it out.” It’s not like he made a real definitive statement that they would absolutely win.
Bryant’s obvious obsession of trying to replicate Jordan is probably contributing to his drive to win another gold medal, and to make a statement that his team could be Jordan’s.
Bryant even grew a goatee like Jordan did back in 92.
So the question is who would win?
The smartest thing that Bryant said was that the 92 team has the current team on size. The 2012 squad only has one true center in Tyson Chandler. The 92 team had David Robinson and Patrick Ewing. Either of those guys are twice the player of Chandler, and Chandler is really good.
At power forward the 92 team had Malone and Barkley. The current team has Kevin Love. Not close.
With Blake Griffin getting hurt, number one overall pick Anthony Davis is on his way. The Dream Team also had a collegiate player in Christian Laettner. As good as Davis was in college, Laettner was one of the best college players of all time.
No one can stop LeBron, but Pippen was one of the greatest all around defenders, so he could do his best against the MVP. Jordan and Bryant would guard each other, but a 29 year old Jordan coming off of his second championship would be superior to a 34 year old Bryant with bad knees.
1992 Bird couldn’t keep up with these guys, but even though Magic hadn’t played in about a year, he could still hang with Chris Paul and Deron Williams.
Bryant says that a lot of those guys were old, but actually a lot of them were in their primes and collectively had 14 championships at the time, and would win 11 more after 1992.
The current team has seven. They have two players (Love and Davis) that have never been in the playoffs.
Jordan points out that the Dream Team had 11 Hall of Famers. The current roster has two locks in James and Bryant with Durant, Paul and Carmelo Anthony making a good case. After that, a lot has to happen.
The 2012 team is really good, but the Dream Team will always be the best ever.
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