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Kobe says 2012 Olympic team could beat Dream Team. Krzyzewski wouldn’t rule it out.

Jul 11, 2012, 5:03 PM EDT

Image (1) Dream-Team-thumb-250x274-18169.jpg for post 3660

LAS VEGAS — Kobe Bryant was direct, in his very Kobe Bryant way. When asked to compare this 2012 Team USA — with himself, LeBron James, Kevin Durant and so on — and how it would do against the 1992 Dream Team with Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan (a team with 11 Hall of Famers), he gave the answer you knew he would.

Kobe said he thought today’s squad would win.

Of course he did. Kobe has never stepped onto a basketball court thinking the team he was on wouldn’t win. That’s part of Kobe.

USA coach Mike Krzyzewski has a better, longer-term perspective (he was an assistant with the Dream Team) and was asked if this team could beat the legendary Dream Team.

“Right now I wouldn’t say that,” Krzyzewski said, referring to how the team looked after a few days of practices. “But this team can be very good. The one thing about this team they are all kind of in their prime or getting ready to go into their prime, and Kobe hasn’t lost anything. Whereas in ’92 there were guys at the end of their careers. Larry (Bird) had a hard time physically, John Stockton was hurt, Magic had been out a year. In their prime, all those guys together, there was no team ever like that.”

It’s an interesting point. That 1992 team did have a prime Michael Jordan plus Charles Barkley, Patrick Ewing (the 2012 team would struggle to slow him), Karl Malone and Clyde Drexler in his prime, among others. But the point that that Dream Team was not 1985 Magic or 1986 Bird is a valid one, we don’t always think of it that way because those guys were able to put on a show against inferior competition.

It’s also hard to judge teams across generations because the competition against them changed.

“The competitive nature of it is so much different (now than 1992), there is so much more competition now,” Coach K said. “Remember in ’92 not only were we ahead (in terms of basketball talent), but Yugoslavia split just before that, so they never put the Yugoslavian team together. And Russia split and became Russia and Lithuania. That would have been more competition. It’s not like the world was that far behind at the time, but the two best international teams in the world other than the United States, were split for the ’92 Games. Nobody is getting split before 2012.”

No, but we have the same expectations of them.

110 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. southtexan - Jul 11, 2012 at 8:48 PM

    Kobe…..I respect your game, but only in your wildest dreams would you ever beat the “Real” Dream Team.

  2. papichulo55 - Jul 11, 2012 at 8:57 PM

    Is 2012 faster than 1992? Yup. But have you noticed how important the half-court sets become at playoff time? Speed advantage becomes less important. Good screens, passing and rebounding become more important during the playoffs. And being a good rebounder is more that how high you can jump. 1992 had some serious baskeball smarts. Stockton may have faced superior athletes every game. Now go read his records, lol! Magic, Bird, Jordan..
    Each one a true genius on the court.

    Todays broadcast games, seen in HD, are all about the player with the ball. Young guys need to watch more of the classic games on ESPN, where a wider camera perspective is used. Then you might gain an appreciation of the OldHead Game, lol..

    Damn, I sure miss those Celtic fastbreaks when the ball never touched the floor!

    • saintlaron - Jul 11, 2012 at 9:27 PM

      Size won’t matter. Dreamteam doesn’t match up defensively. Simple as that. No way Ewing is running up &down the floor guarding lebron, griffin, chandler with those BIG ASS KNEEPADS sorry

      • sasquash20 - Jul 11, 2012 at 10:06 PM

        The Admiral in 92 would

    • sasquash20 - Jul 11, 2012 at 10:06 PM

      I would thumbs up this about a dozen times if I could

      • badintent - Jul 12, 2012 at 6:22 PM

        Sasquash20 is right again !! Preach it brother, the midgets cockroaches are trying to control the world but we Bigs won’t let them.Where’s my D-con spray ?

  3. isujames - Jul 11, 2012 at 9:09 PM

    Olajuwon wasn’t on this team,my bad.

    • genericcommenter - Jul 11, 2012 at 10:22 PM

      Olajuwon wasn’t eligible to play for the US at the time, BUT even if he were….this tells you all you need to know: A 29 year old Olajuwon. coming off a 21.6/12.2/4.3bpg season, in the middle of a run of 12 consecutive 20/10 seasons with no fewer than 2.7bpg..was not even one of the top 2 Centers in the NBA at that time, and in fact did not even make the All-NBA 3rd team in 91-92. In 1992, the NBA actually had real stars who weren’t even close to making the Dream team. In 2012 the whole league doesn’t even have enough stars to fill one team roster. In 2012, could you even imagine a Center with offensive and defensive skills who wouldn’t be a shoo-in for the USA team?

      If there were a 2012 Isiah Thomas and Lebron didn’t want him on the team, you couldn’t just hide his exclusion because you already have the best point guard and the all-time assists leader on the team.

      If you had a Dominique Wilkins in 2012, there’s no way he wouldn’t have been one of the top handful of players and most lobbied to join the team. He wasn’t even missed in 1992.

      As others have mentioned, the 1992 team could actually shoot outside of 3 feet ( and inside of 23 feet), and free throws better than the average middle-aged guy who hasn’t touched a ball in 20 years would do if he just went out to shoot in his driveway for the heck of it.

  4. alikab0k - Jul 11, 2012 at 9:17 PM

    You’re a very lost and confused 28 year old. Blake griffin, Melo, CP3, Iggy, Chandler, Westbrook, Harden, Love, they all gonna be hall of famers? Maybe 2 in that list…MAYBE. Would they have made the Hall of Fame if they played back then? What people also fail to grasp is that hard fouls did not lead to an instant tech like it is now, which is why you saw people on the ground more often than not when they drive in and get fouled.

    They would be able to go small and athletic too. MJ, Drexler, Pippen, Barkley, Malone. ALL in which were in their prime. Put it like this, at the 2032 olympics and they feature the new bball team, what bball team will they be reminiscing about, The Dream Team of ’92 or the Gold Medal (right?) winning 2012 team?

  5. dasmol - Jul 11, 2012 at 9:18 PM

    Not even close. The Dream Team would quite literally run circles around 2012’s team. Just like every other team they played.

  6. 11jlacy - Jul 11, 2012 at 9:19 PM

    I agree kobe real talk!!!!!!

  7. imaduffer - Jul 11, 2012 at 9:21 PM

    After Sir Charles knocked Kobe’s ass to the ground, he might think differently.

  8. csuxrr - Jul 11, 2012 at 9:30 PM

    If Kobe wasn’t so full of himself he would have given a generic answer to avoid disrespecting the dream team.I love watching him play but I just don’t like him.Something like ” the dream team was tough and it would have been an amazing game for the fans”.

  9. papichulo55 - Jul 11, 2012 at 9:32 PM

    Look at it this way. Basketball is all about ball movement. You have to recognize that 1992 had four of the best passers that the game has ever seen!

    Now, which one of those very talented, gifted 2012 players can outrun, outquick a good pass? Exactly! Todays players dick around with the ball too much. Playing to the camera. 1992 had players capable of some jaw-dropping plays. But, IMHO, they were better practiced and focused on playing fundamental basketball.

    • ahemahem - Jul 12, 2012 at 12:51 AM

      Half the current team can do what MJ did. These guys learned from those guys. The current team would reign.

  10. canehouse - Jul 11, 2012 at 9:39 PM

    Kobe has been sniffing glue… a lot of it!!!! This quote has to have been taken out of context at some Vegas Strip joint… seriously can’t wait for Kobe’s retracted passive aggressive statement… via Jim Grey.

  11. dlmcc1010 - Jul 11, 2012 at 9:39 PM

    They wouldnt have a shot against the 92 Team. Those guys were completely unselfish. I get that LeBron and Kobe are all time greats. But nobody will ever top Michael Jordan. also keep in mind that alot of those guys from 92 were ferocious on the defensive end. Ewing, Barkley, Jordan and Pippen all were great defenders. Kobe and Lebron play D, but thats about it and no one would match up with Karl Malone and Jordan on the court at the same time. For me its just no contest

  12. dickclydesdale - Jul 11, 2012 at 10:54 PM

    Put any white young attractive lady in front of Michael Jordan and he would not have anything for the game.

    • ahemahem - Jul 12, 2012 at 1:14 AM

      Jealous much, dicky?

  13. ishiibrad - Jul 11, 2012 at 11:22 PM

    Kobe,everybody knows you`ve spent your whole life in the shadows of Jordan. It pisses you off,but you will never be like Mike ! You had good games here and there.Jordan played every game like Mike !
    The Dream team was like no other,you know why…Because they played together as a team. They were a team,a dream team. The players you have now are all…Look at me ,look what I can do . Follow my twit ter because I have something to say.

    • tyson3 - Jul 12, 2012 at 10:58 AM

      I agree and it’s funny to me how Kobe has the same goatee that mike had in the Olympics! Kobe even said he would guard mike which we all know is impossible bc he couldn’t guard Westbrook. The dream team didn’t even have to play hard bc they were that dominant so we can only imagine how bad they would have beat teams if they would have played hard all game. I accept these new guys are talented but those older guys were physical, had great basketball iq, could all play D, and lastly had heart. Which is something these guys don’t have much of anymore. Lebron is soft and Kobe can’t beat Okc young boys. Melo can’t guard anybody and kd would get pushed around like a 13 year old girl.

    • stoptrippn - Jul 12, 2012 at 10:59 AM


  14. ray21230 - Jul 12, 2012 at 1:06 AM

    Nobody in this league at their prime could even stand close to M J there is a reason he is still the greatest of all time

  15. jclu7188 - Jul 12, 2012 at 2:52 AM

    Even though Magic + Bird were not in their prime, MJ WAS in his prime(w/ Pippen too)… and that’s really all that matters.

  16. mclayton31 - Jul 12, 2012 at 5:30 AM

    Aside from Durant and Kobe, where does the 2012 teams midrange points come from?

  17. hoops45 - Jul 12, 2012 at 7:17 AM

    Let’s be clear about one thing. The most DOMINANT Dream Team is DT3! Not even DT1 could contain a Hakeem Olajuwon and Shaq, who were both in their primes.

    • mightyquinn69 - Jul 12, 2012 at 11:17 AM

      100% agree

  18. chex1868 - Jul 12, 2012 at 7:58 AM

    Ewing, Barkley, Robinson, Malone would dominate the 2012 team in the low post.

  19. skizzlemckizzle - Jul 12, 2012 at 8:45 AM

    I think people forget there is only one basketball. You can have as many Durants, Kobes and LBJ’s on one team as you’d like but they are not each scoring30 pts in an Olympics game. I am old enough to have watch Jordan in his prime and have seen plenty of Kobe. They are both awesome players but Jordan gets the nod. Way too may games where I see Kobe get his 30+ pts by shooting 9 for 27 from the floor.

  20. cantonbound13 - Jul 12, 2012 at 8:46 AM

    They don’t even have a center on the team. Ewing & Robinson would destroy them inside. Jordan & Pippen would shut down the perimeter.

    • mightyquinn69 - Jul 12, 2012 at 11:20 AM

      You are calling Ewing a center? Really? All his week ass ever did was shot jump shots, and was an average rebounder. This 2012 team is bigger, and more athetic than the 1992 team.

  21. Charlie "Jumbo" Copeland - Jul 12, 2012 at 9:53 AM

    The Sports Dump has to agree with Kobe on this one.

  22. bubba703 - Jul 12, 2012 at 10:27 AM

    Kobe is right, if they played the game NOW against 1992 players who are now AARP members, the current dream team might win. But playing against those players in their prime, which was filled with top 50 of all time players, the answer is no way.

  23. bucrightoff - Jul 12, 2012 at 10:37 AM

    The idea that Russell Westbrook and Chris Paul would be too athletic for Stockton is laughable. Stockton never gets enough credit for how good a defensive player he was. Even taking away the steals record (which is never going to be broken), Stockton was known as being as hard nosed a defender as there was. I’ll take tough and hard nosed over athletic every day of the week.

    • mightyquinn69 - Jul 12, 2012 at 11:24 AM

      You must be on crack if you think Stockton could handle Westbrook or Paul. This isn’t the 90’s were the PG were not nearly as quick, fast, and crafty with the ball. They would destroy Stockton! Period.

      • bucrightoff - Jul 12, 2012 at 12:08 PM

        You undervalue smarts. A great defender knows how to use his body positioning and instincts to stop superior athletic players. I don’t think anyone would call Bruce Bowen or Raja Bell outstanding athletes, but they were outstanding defenders because they know how to play smart defense.

      • badintent - Jul 12, 2012 at 6:10 PM

        Stockton Always funneled super fast guys into Mark Eton for his blocks, or Malone’s elbows ! Just ask Isiah, the chump lost all his marbles for life on Karl’s wing. Plus 50 stitches. Nice.Hell , Stockton even got Barkely to whine about Mark’s tough picks on him in the playoffs. When Charles threaten to run him over, Karl mentioned he’d be more than happy to return the favor. Of course, charlie punked out.

  24. stoptrippn - Jul 12, 2012 at 11:01 AM

    There isn’t anyone on the 2012 team that can shoot or pass like Bird. Also, there’s NO ONE as great as Jordan.

  25. ransomstoddard1 - Jul 12, 2012 at 11:26 AM

    Once again, Kobe’s mouth writes checks that his teammates don’t have the talent to cash. And once again, Kobe forgets that one of the reasons that MJ, Magic, Bird, Barkley, et al are so revered is because they didn’t come across as jerks every time they opened their mouths.

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