Well Kobe Bryant has opened his mouth at the wrong time once again. On Wednesday, Kobe stated that his 2012 U.S. Olympic team that will be competing in London could beat the 1992 Dream Team that won gold.
Really? Did my ears really hear that? Who in their right mind could possibly think their team has what it takes to take down the greatest assembled team the world has ever, and possibly will ever see again? I thought Kobe was a conceited punk before and this just proves my point.
Since he made the statement, I've had people ask things such as, "well, didn't the reporter ask him the question?" The answer is yes but why answer it like he did? Why compare yourself or anybody over the last decade to the best players on the Dream Team? When Jeter or Pujols get asked about being possibly the greatest players in baseball history, how do they answer. "It is an honor to just hear my name among those such as Stan Musial or Babe Ruth, let alone be put above them."
That is how Kobe should have answered. Don't sit there in your little chair in front of a camera and say you and your team are better than, and could beat, the players that made the game great.
The Dream Team did things that may never be touched again in NBA or Olympic history. During the Games, the Michael Jordan led team scored an average of 117.2 points per game, beating their opponents by a margin of 43.7. That is absolutely nuts.
Not to mention what the team did in the Tournament of Champions in the same year when they scored 121.1 points per game and beat its opponents by 51 on average. How can you compete with that? Or with the likes of an older Larry Bird, or one of the greatest ever in Scottie Pippen and Charles Barkley? What about the 3-point shooting of Chris Mullins or the rebounding kings of David Robinson and Patrick Ewing? You can't and you shouldn't even try to compare to that.
In 2008, when Kobe, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade led a very good USA team into Beijing, there was no big talk of how good they thought they were. It was simply the fact that they had work to do to make sure that the USA's reputation stayed in tip-top shape.
But even as good as they were, the stats still don't compare. The 1992 team scored 11 more points per game than the 2008 team. They also beat their opponents by nearly 20 more points as well.
Now that Kobe has assembled his own "Dream Team" it will look a little different with the additions of Kevin Durant, who will be replacing Wade, and Russell Westbrook, both from the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Other than those two, the 2012 team looks a lot like the 2008 team.
People have also said, in the last day or so, that Westbrook would beat both John Stockton and Magic Johnson off the dribble and dominate in the half court. Give me a break. Stockton was one of the greatest NBA defensive geniuses and had speed that was out of this world. As for the 1992 Magic Johnson, he had been out for the past year and still dominated on the court. Westbrook could learn a thing or two or three from these guys that made the game fun. But, the biggest thing that has me smooth bumfuzzled is the fact that people think Kobe and LeBron could take Jordan one-on-one. Like the greatest NCAA coach Mike Krzyzewski once said, "have these guys seen Michael Jordan play?" My point exactly. I agree that LeBron could at least hang with Jordan for a minute but he couldn't win. Jordan would outshoot him in the long run. Plus, lets not forget that Jordan was pretty salty in the paint as well. Just ask Ewing and the Knicks.
MJ laughed off the comments and simply said that their is no comparison between the two; the 1992 was clearly better.
Barkley also made a good point in response to Kobe's comments when he said that there are only three players on the 2012 squad that would even have a chance of making the Dream Team. Those being Kobe, LeBron and Durant. That is only because Bird was old, Christian Laettner was still in college at Duke and Magic had just come back.
Another key factor in why the 1992 Dream Team would win is because up until the 2000s, the NBA was about playing defense. About stealing the ball and scoring on the break. About blocking and showing the other post players who's house it was. Nowadays, the game has turned into an all offensive game with little to no defense. That is why you see final scores around the 120-130 mark. That rarely ever happened in the '90s.
ESPN put together 10,000 computer simulated games between the 1992 and 2012 teams. Guess who came out on top? The Dream Team won 53 percent of the matches, outscored the 2012 squad by one on average and had a higher field-goal percentage overall. I think even those stats would be much more in favor of the 1992 Dream Team.
A simulated odds line in Las Vegas also had the 1992 team as an eight-point favorite. Need I say more? I don't think so. The point is, think before you speak and sure as heck don't speak about the greatest basketball team to ever walk the face of the earth when talking about yourself.