As the debate rages on about the current 2012 Team USA squad beating the 1992 Dream Team, Los Angeles Lakers legend Magic Johnson came out to address part of the debate in terms of which current players would’ve been able to make the ’92 roster.
Magic talked about Kobe Bryant and LeBron James the only guarantees to make the roster on the current squad competing in the 2012 Olympics via Mark Medina of the L.A. Times:
“You have to say Kobe would definitely make it,” Johnson said. “He’s unbelievable. We’re so lucky and so fortunate we get a chance to watch Kobe play every single night here in L.A. LeBron is the best all-around player in the game so he would definitely make our team. Kevin Durant would have a shot as well. You have two definitely in with Kobe and LeBron.”
It’s hard to argue with Magic’s point here as it’d be a foregone conclusion that Kobe and LeBron would be make this squad even with all the talent from top to bottom on the ’92 roster.
A backcourt with Kobe, Magic, John Stockton and Michael Jordan would’ve been amazing to watch. And LeBron added to the frontcourt with the likes Charles Barkley, Larry Bird, Patrick Ewing, Karl Malone and David Robinson would’ve been just as tough to stop for opponents.
The real question is which players would’ve been replaced by Kobe and LeBron. A few names come to mind that aren’t already listed above. Clyde Drexler and Chris Mullin would be the top two candidates to get the boot with Kobe and LeBron coming into the mix.
Christian Laettner would also be an obvious choice being the only unproven player on the roster. It’s hard to believe that Laettner was picked over Shaquille O’Neal. This team would’ve been that much more dominant in the paint with Shaq in the mix opposed to Laettner.
There’s no question there’d be little argument for Kobe and LeBron to take the spots of Drexler and Mullin. Both Hall of Famers definitely earned a spot on the Dream Team roster, but with Kobe and LeBron in consideration, they’d be watching the 1992 Olympics from home rather than traveling to Barcelona, Spain.