The 2012 Summer Olympics in London are right around the corner—July 27, to be exact—and while many of us will follow the Olympics diligently, many of us will only be tuning in for one event: men’s basketball.
Us sports fans will be checking out Team USA because it’s an NBA All-Star team. I mean, it’s a pretty rare occurrence to witness Kobe and LeBron playing on the same squad. While we’re excited to see how this team is going to fair during the Olympic games, many of us are also remembering the 20th Anniversary of the 1992 Team, aka the “Dream Team.”
The ’92 squad not only won the gold, they absolutely dominated their opponents in Barcelona. Because of this domination, many have considered them “the greatest sports team ever assembled.” But, Kobe Bryant disagrees.
Recently, while in Vegas at Team USA’s training camp, Kobe stated the following:
“Well, just from a basketball standpoint, they obviously have a lot more size than we do — you know, with [David] Robinson and [Patrick] Ewing and [Karl] Malone and those guys.
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,” Bryant continued, the trace of a smile beginning to play its way across his face. “It’d be a tough one, but I think we’d pull it out.”
Naturally, these comments were picked up by two of the eleven Hall of Famers from the ’92 team.
Charles Barkley’s response was “I just started laughing.” “How old is Kobe Bryant, 36? He’s 34? And he’s calling us old? At the time, we were only like 28, 29… Michael Jordan and me [sic] were the same age. We were both 29.”
He went on to say his squad would not only beat this year’s team but by double digits. “Oh yeah, that’s no disrespect,” Barkley said. “I ain’t got to badmouth them… Their point guards weren’t going to beat us. That’s a no-brainer.”
Then, there were comments from Michael Jordan. Like Sir Charles, MJ laughed at Kobe’s statements. Jordan added “For him to compare those two teams is not one of the smarter things he ever could have done,” and, “I imagine he’s trying to say it to legitimize his own Dream Team”.
Even since this war of words began, the sports world has been speculating on which team is actually better. Naturally, a majority of us would say the ’92 team. In fact, there was a great breakdown of the two teams back in January when the 2012 roster was announced.
While there’s no doubt in our minds that the ‘92 squad would be victorious over this year’s team, it would still be an exciting and tough game. However, there’s one interesting thing to consider about the changes that have occurred globally in basketball. The rest of the world has been catching up to Team USA’s skills and talents.
USA Today noted that back in 1992 there were only 21 foreign-born players from 18 different countries on NBA rosters; at the start of the 2010-2011 season there were a record 84 foreign-born players from 38 countries. As the numbers illustrate, the rest of the world is producing more quality basketball players than they did twenty years ago. So, the 2012 team will most likely not be as dominant as the ’92 edition. Even so, it’s hard to imagine that these current players could end up defeating the one and only Dream Team.
I guess this debate will continue to heat up as Team USA begins playing in London. Until then, what do you fellow sports fans think? Would the 2012 USA basketball team stand a chance against the ’92 Dream Team?
Image Source: Bad Not Good
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