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Magic says Kobe and LeBron would make the Dream Team

Jul 29, 2012, 4:00 PM EDT

APTOPIX NBA All Star Basketball AP

As interesting uninteresting kill-me-now painful as the discussion over whether the 2012 team could beat the Dream Team has been, Magic Johnson gave an interesting answer Saturday on who would make the Dream Team from this year’s squad. From 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.”

via London Olympics: Magic says Kobe, LeBron would make ’92 Dream Team – latimes.com.

So then the question becomes who would they replace on the Dream Team. Johnson would only target poor Christian Laettner, the single college player put on the team and the one constantly derided by his teammates both at the time and in retrospect.

But in truth, it becomes an interesting answer with James possibly starting, and Bryant obviously backing up Jordan, if their natural positions are reserved.

There’s a kind of weird inverse connection between Bryant’s position on that team and that James’. Bryant isn’t quite as sharp as he was, say, four years ago in Beijing. Clyde Drexler, on the other hand, was just 30. And while taking Drexler over Bryant sounds insane given total career accomplishments, it might have been closer than you’d think. Is a 30-year-old Drexler better than a 34-next-month Bryant? Well, no, probably not. One thing is indisputable. Bryant wouldn’t be starting. (An argument could be made that Bryant and Jordan should start over Magic Johnson, but as Jack McCallum noted in his book on the Dream Team, that wasn’t going to happen. It was Magic’s team in name, if not function.)

For James, list me a player who at the time was better than James is right now: Charles Barkley, Karl Malone, Scottie Pippen, Larry Bird, Chris Mullin. Bird is the only player who you can actually try and make an argument was better at his peak than James is now, but in ’92, Bird was a shell of himself due to a back injury that would lead to his subsequent retirement. You could make the case for Pippen’s ability to compliment Jordan, but if we’re going overall talent, the edge goes to James. If it’s at power forward, you can probably say that Barkley fits the position better, but you have David Robinson and Patrick Ewing for true size, and James’ versatility makes up for whatever he gives up.

So likely, at this moment in time, Magic-Jordan-James-Barkley-Robinson/Ewing with Bryant off the bench first is probably the setup. If this was 2008, that question gets even tougher. You might even then be able to make the argument for Magic-Jordan-Bryant-James-Barkley/Robinson/Ewing.

One thing’s certain. James and Bryant are great enough, even with the contextual restraint of recentness dragging them down, to be a part of the Dream.

  1. millytone0621 - Jul 30, 2012 at 7:28 AM

    So magic shockingly picks Kobe to make this team, his fellow cake. Then he turns and pick Lebron, the same dude everyone crushed until he won a ring. Magic will destroy him next wen he doesnt show up unlike my boy Melo. Melo is a far better shooter and scorer than Lebron will ever be. Melo can create any shot he wants, Lebron has to have a head of steam or get mad help fom the refs! No way does Lebron strike me as the greatest sf ever, how disrespectful but predictable of people. Lebron has A ring a a few mvps, look up Dr. J, James Worthy, Larry Bird, shoot Bernard King was crazy! One ring doesnt make you great, remember, Eddie Curry got one too. I guess he is now the greatest center ever also! Move over Wilt!

  2. paulhargis53 - Jul 30, 2012 at 8:54 AM

    malt: People aren’t “haters” because they disagree with your opinion. It’s very arrogant if you to make a statement, and then proclaim others haters for not going along with it. It’s as if you are saying you know better than anyone else. It’s also part of the reason why so many fans dislike the Lakers, it has nothing to do with the players. It’s because many of the fans ha e this same sort of arrogance.

    Kobe isnt even the best Laker ever, how do you have him rated#2 behind Jordan?
    West, Magic, Jabbar Wilt, hell maybe even Baylor were better than Kobe.

    Kobe, is not top 5 all time. He’s barely in the conversation for top 10 all time.

    But, we’re supposed to take the biased opinion of a Laker fan as gospel, right?

    If you laker fans could be objective, it may be a different story, but you can’t.

    Us not agreeing with you, doesnt make us haters, it makes us realistic.

    You go ahead and flame away at me. There are at least 9 other players in history better than Kobe.

    • 00maltliquor - Jul 31, 2012 at 1:58 AM

      paul, what’s going on with you buddy? Were you not held enough as a child? Were you bullied endlessly in grade school? I really don’t get why you’re so angry everyday. I mean, it’s literally everyday you’re in a pissed off mood (at least online, I don’t know you personally) and trying hard to get some kind of attention, even if it’s negitive.

      I didn’t say “haters” to people who don’t agree with me and see things my way, just to the people (like you) who always try to discredit Kobe’s greatness for no damn reason other then the fact that they do not like him as a person.

      And like I responded back to you a while ago, I am one of, if not the most objective regulars here. Even if I was a freakin’ Bobcat fan, I would be saying the same thing. Just so happens I lucked out to have a player of Kobe’s caliber for 16+ years. Sue me. Biased opinion, I think not.

      I would not be mad at anyone if they put Kobe anywhere in their top 5, it really is pulling straws for top 5 positioning (although if you leave Kobe out alltogether then there’s something really wrong with the list). Check Kobe’s long list of credentials, look at his jacket, count the fist full of rings, look at all the shattered records, LAL and league-wide. He can post. He can shoot. He is clutch. Hits his free throws. He can drive. Mid-range is unstoppable. Footwork is ridiculous. Has every move in the book. Can D up. Has a fire un-matched by anyone but his Airness himself (a few others as well…). The amount of work and effort he puts into his craft and perfecting it, even after most NBA players would have already been retired two times over!

      Just…ahhh…forget it pauly…it’s like talking to a brick wall. I love the irony on how you try to call me out as biased when it’s really the guy you see in your bathroom mirror everyday.

      • 00maltliquor - Jul 31, 2012 at 2:45 AM

        Oh, and one more thing paul, because I know you’re going to get confrontational about the whole “mirror” comment…dude, you spend all your time and energy on this website Laker/Laker fan/Kobe bashing and provide little to no insight on other things around the NBA.

        Eeeeevry now and then you will, but it always has to do with bashing someone and their opionions like you just wrongfully accused me of, which is cool if you did it every once in a while,because some people really don’t know what the hell they’re talking about, but you do it allllllllllllllllllll the time. You’re a one trick pony. You sir are the prime example of what a “hater” is. The posterboy for hate. The antithesis of hater. Look in the dictionary and you’ll see paulhargis53 next to the word and definition of hater. Your hater ways has it’s own gravitational pull.. For you, home is where the hate is. If you were Don Cornelious and you hosted Soul Train back in the days, your catch phrase would be “chaos, anger and haaaaate!”

    • dlhouse18 - Jul 31, 2012 at 2:27 AM

      True that he’s not the best Laker ever. I think Magic was the best, but Kobe is definitely a top 5 player. In my mind he’s #4 behind Magic, Jordan, and Bird in that order. Seriously? Elgin Baylor, Jerry West, Wilt, and Kareem are all better than Kobe?! West and Kareem are the only ones worth a realistic (more than 1 sentence) comparison of those four guys. Wilt shot free throws worse than Shaq and had extremely inflated stats. Baylor wasn’t nearly as good a scorer and only won one ring.

  3. klownboy - Jul 30, 2012 at 11:46 AM

    And Kobe and LeBron would lead Team USA to a win over the Dream Team

    http://wp.me/p1gCK6-qt

  4. larrybrown43 - Jul 30, 2012 at 12:59 PM

    This is all so silly.

  5. paulhargis53 - Jul 30, 2012 at 1:36 PM

    klownboy: Your name says it all. That’s the dumbest take yet in this Olympic story.
    I don’t know where to begin with the many flaws in your argument. So im just going to point and laugh.

  6. paulhargis53 - Jul 31, 2012 at 10:38 AM

    Nice try trying to deflect my statements by calling me “angry”. How do you glean anger out of the typewritten word?
    How would you know my personal feelings about Kobe? He’s a fine basketball player- just not top 2 all time, not top 5, not top 10.
    Besides, I distinctly said in my post it had zero to do with the team or the players.
    I’m biased because im objective? Ridiculous.
    You give yourself way to much credit, your mirror statement means zilch to me.
    I dont hate Kobe or the Lakers, its you unrealistic fans that I pick on. I’m not a hater at all, I just detest stupidity, and there is A LOT of it spewed by Lakers fans. You are calling me a hater because I disagree with you. Contrary to your spin, I never called you that.And Soul Train, really?
    Better players in order, better than Kobe:
    Russel
    Wilt
    Jordan
    Jabbar
    Magic
    Bird
    Robertson
    West
    Erving
    Kobe

    Guess Kobe is top 10 after all. No bias at all for the Lakers half the top 10 played for them.

  7. ursoulsmhine - Aug 1, 2012 at 7:23 AM

    PG-Johnson
    SG-Jordan
    SF-Bird
    PF-Russel
    C-Chamberlain

    Subs:
    Abdul Jabbar
    O.Robertson
    Olajuwon
    O’Neil
    Erving
    J

  8. ursoulsmhine - Aug 1, 2012 at 7:34 AM

    PG-Johnson
    SG-Jordan
    SF-Bird
    PF-Russel
    C-Chamberlain

    Sub:Jabbar,Olajuwon,O’neil,Ewing,O.Roberson,K.Malone,Erving,West,James,Bryant,Pippen,

  9. chicagosworth - Aug 1, 2012 at 7:12 PM

    I respect Magic to the fullest BUT no one one the dream team could ever be replaced.

  10. gs7101 - Aug 5, 2012 at 8:48 AM

    I think it’s hilarious that some people believe the 2012 U.S. Olympic Basketball Team could beat the 1992 Dream Team; they could not and the whole discussion about a mythical match up is complete nonsense. Furthermore, neither Bryant or James would make the 1992 Olympic Dream Team — Kobe was just 14 years old and LeBron was 8 years old during that time period!

  11. kansas531 - Aug 8, 2012 at 8:15 PM

    If you want to talk Dream Teams, how about the one that was not allowed to participate in the Olympics (when it was amateur only) The following players were active in the 1964 season.

    Try these for team members:
    Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russel, Elgin Baylor, Jerry West, Jerry Lucas, Oscar Robertson, Chet Walker, Hal Greer and Lenny Wilkins. With the first 2 alone, if a team missed a shot they had better get back on defense, because there would not be any offensive rebounds.

  12. kansas531 - Aug 8, 2012 at 8:29 PM

    For those who think the “old” players could not compete, and the person who said Chamberlain’s stats were overrated. He just happened to play in the era of some of the best defensive centers ever (Russell, Bellamy, etc) and was a beast that the current era has never seen. 7 – 1 (or 3 depending upon whose info you use) and 300 pounds of all muscle (don’t even compare Shaq to him). Was also a track star at KU (field and running), could outrun guards the length of the court, and one season averaged 48.5 minutes per game (sat out a total of 8 minutes for the season and played several overtime games. Show me the pro that can do that today. If he had been a current era athlete with all the training and conditioning kids get now, you don’t even want to go think about what he could have done.

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