Now that Kobe Bryant is currently training with Team USA and preparing for the road to a second straight gold medal under Coach Mike Krzyzewski in London, England, the five-time NBA champion will be hit will all sorts of Dream Team comparisons with the current squad stacked with talent from top to bottom.
Recently, Kobe was asked whether or not he believes this current team could beat Michael Jordan’s Dream Team from 1992. Kobe’s response was controversial, but not all that surprising via Reid Cherner of USA Today:
“It’d be a tough one, but I think we’d pull it out,” Bryant said.
After the Dream Team destroyed the competition in Barcelona back in 1992, the consensus was it was best basketball team ever assembled. It has been hard to argue that fact with names like Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Charles Barkley and Karl Malone on the same squad alongside Jordan, but the current Team USA might have been able to give them a run for their money.
Although there were plenty of legendary players on the Dream Team, the current squad around Kobe is extremely talented; even without Dwyane Wade, Derrick Rose, Dwight Howard or Chris Bosh.
The one edge that could possibly turn out to be decisive is age, speed and quickness. The majority players on the current squad are in their prime with Kevin Durant, LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony hitting their strides as premiere players in the league. Kobe is without a doubt on the downside of his career, but still a serious force to be reckoned with and arguably a top five player in today’s game.
As for the Dream Team, Jordan led the way having already won two championships at the time with four more to follow. Bird could barely walk with back problems and Magic was out of the game due to contracting the HIV virus forcing him into retirement. Scottie Pippen, David Robinson, Clyde Drexler, John Stockton, Malone and Barkley were all in their primes, but they may have struggled against the speed and athleticism of Blake Griffin, Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook, Durant and LeBron.
One thing the Dream Team of ’92 had going for them that the current team does not is size and strength. Robinson and Patrick Ewing alone may have been enough to handle the bigs on the current squad with length and ability to be a force on offense. Kevin Love, Griffin and LeBron would almost certainly struggle against the physicality of Barkley and Malone with a different physical mentality of the ’90s game.
The debate will rage on with no resolution, but it is something that will definitely continue to be discussed over the course of the 2012 Olympic Games with Team USA trying to bring home the gold once again with Kobe and LeBron leading the way.
Let us know who you’d think would win between these two versions of Team USA and why in the comments below.