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Make it stop: Jordan again says Dream Team would beat 2012 Team USA

Aug 15, 2012, 12:00 PM EDT

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

I was so hopeful we were done with this debate. So very hopeful. This topic should be as dead as William McKinley. Please just make it stop.

But the Freddy Krueger of debates — it will not die — is back because once again Michael Jordan is talking about how the 2012 Olympic gold medal basketball team from the USA would fare against the Dream Team.

And now that debate can carry over to the NBA2K13 game, which will have Team USA squads for the first time. The Dream Team is represented, although without Scottie Pippen (he did not agree to terms with the game maker). No, they did not add Isiah Thomas in his place.

Anyway, here is the latest in the debate, via Sam Amick at Sports Illustrated.

“I know Kobe said some things early on and I responded to those — where the ’92 Dream Team, I felt, was a more well-rounded basketball team,” Jordan said. “He felt we were a little old, but we only had two players that were over 30 at the time — that was Magic [Johnson] and Larry [Bird]. Everybody else was 29 or below [Clyde Drexler, Patrick Ewing and John Stockton actually turned 30 shortly before or during the Olympics], so I think that the team itself would have been well-rounded defensively, offensively, inside, outside….

“In [terms] of how the game is played from an offensive standpoint and a defense standpoint — from a team standpoint — I feel like we were much more solid defensively. We could definitely guard the perimeter and force them to penetrate to shot-blockers, which I felt like would’ve made a big difference with this team in 2012. They only had one shot-blocker. Granted, I know LeBron [James] and some of those guys can still block shots. It’s not the same defense and it’s not the same intensity.”

Debate it amongst yourselves in the comments. You know were I stand (the Dream Team is better but the current side would have about a 20% chance in one game playoff). Personally, I’m done with the debate. We all should be. Except when we pick up the X-Box controller.

  1. chicitybulls - Aug 15, 2012 at 12:25 PM

    Is there really even a debate? Dream Team had 11 of 12 HOFers. Are you going to tell me that Tyson Chandler is a HOFer? James Harden? Russell Westbrook? Kevin Love? All good players but HOFers? Debate over.

    • LPad - Aug 15, 2012 at 1:29 PM

      I agree about the HOFs but nobody at the time though that Chris Mullin would be in Hall so you never know. Let’s say OKC ends up getting 3 rings chances are Harden and Westbrook will end up in the Hall so it’s hard to say who will end up in the hall.

      • hystoracle - Aug 15, 2012 at 1:39 PM

        Harden barely played in the Medal round games. He wasn’t very critical to Team USA’s success.

    • caseybojangles - Aug 15, 2012 at 1:30 PM

      listen…i think the 92 team is better too but that HoF argument sucks balls. There are too many other arguments that can be wielded in this debate to lead with HoF. The benefit of time creates HoF credentials and its not fair to the current team right now. Its a fine argument in 20 years when all are retired and a comparison can be made. One has no idea what will happen. Westbrook and Love are, what, 4 years in? They absolutely could make the Hall. Love put up 26/13/2 last season. Do that for at least 7 more years and sorry bro…he’s in.

      • chicitybulls - Aug 15, 2012 at 2:21 PM

        While I think that the basketball HOF is probably the easiest to get in and Love probably has the best outside chance of getting in I dont think you can say that 11 of 12 of these guys will be in. Any real basketball fan can look and just tell. That whole eye test thing. Chandler isn’t 4 yrs in. You really think he has a chance to get in? Would you put money on that. And as far as OKC, I really like that team. Prob the only other team I would root for other than the Bulls but with the new cba rules they can’t keep that team together for any long length of time. So they aren’t winning 3 championships as constructed. And the reason I led with the HOF argument is because, as Jason Segal said in “Bad Teacher”….”Its the only argument I need Sean” lol. Seriously though its because it shows how much more completely talented the entire team was.

      • caseybojangles - Aug 15, 2012 at 10:55 PM

        Chicitybulls…first of all, the reference in bad teachers was the number of rings not HoF…with that said though, second with this “eye” test you employ, there’s probably 8 likely HOF players on the 2012 squad with actually deron williams the weakest of the 8 that i’m counting but he is 7 years in and ahead of chris mullin’s HoF career. westbrook is waaaaaay closer than you give him credit for. only 4 years in his career averages are 19/5/7 with last season his best at 24/5/6 and he’s getting better. to answer your question, no chandler isn’t making the hall but again, there are plenty of other reasons the 92 team was better. i will absolutely give the 2012 some credit with LBJ the X factor. Karl Malone body with Magic court vision/passing, and MJ athleticism AND plays D is someone that no one on the 92 squad could match up with. No one. Zero. He would need to be doubled at all times and he would kick out to the open man. could be kobe, could be melo, could be durant could be paul. whoever it is, it was the winning formula used by the heat and i like any of those four taking the open shot waaaaaaaay more than anyone on the heat.

        with that said, you have to play 5 and Magic and MJ in the back with Barkley (who was a monster back then not the jolly, fat…OK, he was fat back then, comedic TNT analyst of today) and Malone if you want offense or Pippen if you want D and Robinson or Ewing in the middle. Crazy.

    • dadawg77 - Aug 15, 2012 at 3:38 PM

      One thing the Hall of Fame is the Basketball Hall of Fame not just the NBA Hall of Fame. While most of the players on the original Dream Team made it in because of their NBA careers, Mullin made it because he was a good NBA player and one of the all time great college players.

  2. jimeejohnson - Aug 15, 2012 at 12:48 PM

    Michael Jordan is probably the greatest basketball player in history! He’s definitely the number 1 competitor the game has ever seen, and its seen some tough cookies like Larry Bird and Magic Johnson among many others. Anybody who ever saw Jordan do his thing would never bet against any team he played on. But MJ is feeling insecure about how his Dream Team compares to this one, and he is quite adept at covering up his insecurity. Jordan should continue doing what he does best: selling underwear on TV, and leave basketball to the guys who suit up and play.

    • chucklewis13 - Aug 15, 2012 at 1:11 PM

      You nailed this one. I agree with you one hundred percent.

  3. themars211 - Aug 15, 2012 at 12:50 PM

    What does Jordan know about a well rounded basketball team. He should try building one in Charlotte instead of contributing to stupid arguments about who would win or lose a hypothetical basketball game. How about building a real basketball team Mike.

  4. dls612 - Aug 15, 2012 at 1:33 PM

    We’ll never see it! So unless someone invent the fountain of youth, it will be a ongoing debate! If! If! If! If!if!

  5. hystoracle - Aug 15, 2012 at 1:40 PM

    The ’92 team would beat this team handily for two reasons. One this team had no presence down low and the ’92 team had two of the best centers in the NBA. Two, 2012 team couldn’t defend the pick and roll. The ’92 squad had Malone and Stockton who perfected the pick and roll. Put those two in the game and run up the score.
    If the NBA allowed multiple defenses like were employed during the Olympics these players would be more prepared in how to deal with them in International play. A lot of one and doners or straight fro high schoolers out there who haven’t played anything but man-to-man.

    • madnova - Aug 15, 2012 at 2:40 PM

      They barely had Stockton. He was hurt at the time.

  6. blaksteele - Aug 15, 2012 at 1:57 PM

    The real question in this article is why in the hell did Pippen not agree to terms with 2K13? You got Jordan, Magic, and Bird to agree to terms. Stop acting like a b–ch!

  7. sk37ch - Aug 15, 2012 at 2:09 PM

    MJ must be insecure about his place in the annals of basketball history or something. Everybody knows that the original Dream Team would win over the 2012 team, but for some reason, that’s just NOT good enough for him and he keeps having to keep flappin his gums every 5 days about it.

    First of all, what do you expect Kobe to say? “Yeah, we’ll get our @$$es handed to us by the Dream Team?” Of course he’s gonna say what he said, and plus he was actually careful to say that the 2012 team can beat them 1 game. Absolutely they can. Hey MJ, if you insecure egomaniacs could lose to a college team in a scrimmage, you can most certainly lose to the 2012 team.

    Why don’t you worry less about this topic and worry more about your Charlotte Bobcat’s team? Because right now, they can’t beat the McDonald’s All American High School team! Do what you need to do… make your team better, and not live in the past!

    You can’t seem to make any right decisions post your basketball playing days. Your team sucks, your new Jordan brand shoes suck! The Bobcats haven’t posted a winning season since you’ve been involved with the team! And Jordan Brand hasn’t put out a decent pair of kicks since it split from Nike! Everything you touch now turns to crap! Just shut your pie hole and watch Kobe sneak in with 7 rings now that Superman has joined the Justice League of America!

  8. alildusty - Aug 15, 2012 at 2:13 PM

    +1 @blaksteele wtf is up with pippen?!

    Pau Gasol OWNED USA Team 2012 the post.
    Lithuania made more field goals than USA Team 2012 and almost won if it wasn’t for team USA shooting twice as many free throws.

    Both of those things WOULD NOT have happened against the dream team. End of discussion.

    • passerby23 - Aug 15, 2012 at 6:49 PM

      Agreed. The ’92 Dream Team would’ve stepped on Lithuania’s throat. Gasol certainly wouldn’t have had his way with Ewing or Robinson in the post. The biggest difference maker at the end of the day was Jordan. He would’ve relished the challenge to beat these guys and upped his game. Nobody would’ve had an answer for that.

  9. Great Caesar's Ghost - Aug 15, 2012 at 2:46 PM

    If Lebron played during Jordan’s prime he’d be just another frustrated also-ran.

    • dadawg77 - Aug 15, 2012 at 3:44 PM

      That would have been some fun epic battles to watch. Jordan, Pippen, Rodman/Grant vs James, Wade, Bosh.

    • davidly - Aug 16, 2012 at 10:38 AM

      Your hyperbole serves as a dialectic: I think perhaps the opposite is true.

      If you watch just how physical Lebron James is allowed to play–more of an outlier in today’s league than decades past–it reveals how he would have fit in fine in a more physical era.

      While I believe Jordan to be an out-and-out better player than James, I still believe that Lebron is a phenom who would have excelled in the 80s and 90s.

      My reasoning has to do with something that a lot of the advocates for his being the GoAT are missing: Like Magic before him, he excels as much because of his size and physical build as much as skill. Jordan, on the other hand, was just another well-built athlete, but had skills that were out of this world.

  10. davidly - Aug 15, 2012 at 6:05 PM

    Pretty slick of MJ to mention that Lebron can block shots. Jordan had the same per game average over his career (.8) as James does at 27. A career that took two breaks totalling four-and-a-half seasons and ended when he was 40.

  11. 1972wasalongtimeago - Aug 15, 2012 at 9:49 PM

    Said it before, and I’ll say it again…

    You know you’re the best team ever when the only other team that could possibly beat you, can never possibly play you.

    • davidly - Aug 16, 2012 at 10:17 AM

      Nice. Perhaps the best-said on the subject. Too profound for this crowd apparently. Reminds me of my saying: “Worldview shattering irony goes under-appreciated.”

  12. wizflux - Aug 15, 2012 at 9:59 PM

    Jordan was the best shotblocker ever as a guard, with Wade a distant second. Moreover, they’re always talking about Lebron guarding all 5 positions as if he can guard all 5 positions at the same time. Please. Yes he is bigger than MJ, but MJ was much faster. MJ was lightning down that court. I’d like to see Lebron try to guard MJ. MJ would go around him and DUNK. MJ would play mental games, play with Lebron’s head, DUNK, trash talk Lebron until he felt like a little girl. As far as the Dream Team, it was the Dream Team becaus of Michael Jordan. If Jordan wasn’t on that team, it would not have been the Dream Team. Jordan was at his prime at this time, but by this time Jordan had already won 2 championships back to back. Jordan was scoring champ for 5 years consecutively, MVP twice, steals champ, All Star Game MVP, Finals MVP 2 years in a row, ect. Jordan was on top of the world. Then you have Barkley who was about to be MVP the next year. So right there you have 2 MVP caliber players in their prime. Then you have Malone and Magic who had won MVPs as well, and we haven’t even talked about Bird. Bird, Magic, MJ, Malone, and Barkely – 5 MVP caliber players. The 2012 London team has 3 MVP caliber players at best, and one of them has never won an MVP, and Kobe has only won 1. Oops, I forgot that David Robinson. He also won an MVP in 95 so that is 6 MVP players on the Dream Team.

    • davidly - Aug 16, 2012 at 10:29 AM

      I’m right there with you up until the “little girl” bit.

      Interestingly, one of the reasons why the partisans on this issue can’t find fair middle ground (read 1972wasalongtimeago’s brilliant comment above) is because of the human inability to enjoy beauty without denigrating something else by way of comparison.

      I agree that MJ was a better b-baller. He was built to play basketball, one could say. I think what the advocates absolutes in the GoAT discussion are missing is that it is impossible to establish neutral indicators for such a thing.

      To wit: We can say who won the most, who made the most final shots, who had the most scoring titles, etc. All of these being indicators of Jordan’s superiority. Advocates of James point to his superior numerical categories (rebounds, assists).

      Of course neither one of these is an objective qualifier. In team sports–and especially judging different eras–the superior basketball player can only be established subjectively. After having seen both players play extensively, I happen to believe that MJ is hands down the most skilled basketball player I have ever seen. No matter what, however, others will disagree.

      You make a lot of good points, though.

  13. rexgrossman8 - Aug 16, 2012 at 12:02 AM

    Never bet against a team with Magic, Pippen, and Jordan.

  14. davidly - Aug 16, 2012 at 10:19 AM

    Ha! Come on, Kurt, this is the Innernets! Why don’t you complain that even this discussion becomes inevitably “MJ vs. Lebron”?

  15. rlis84 - Aug 22, 2012 at 7:49 PM

    Bird, Magic, MJ, Pippen, Robinson, Ewing, Barkley, Mullen, Malone, Stockton, come on enough said, they could play with the first 7 and just leave Bird old and beat up with a bad back behind the arc draining 3,s and dropping dimes and beat the current Dream Team! Its not even close in a best of 7 series the original dream team wins 4-2 maybe even 4-1!! And for all those saying there is no one to guard LBJ how about scottie pippen maybe even Magic who is 6’8″ Ill take either of them guarding James over anyone currently in the NBA and Kobe is older now who’s going to guard MJ, the best player of all time hands down not even close, James wont even come close!!

    • rlis84 - Aug 22, 2012 at 7:56 PM

      I watched Jordan warming up against the Nets before the game, hit 72 straight shots, 3’s, turn around jumpers, mid range, long range didn’t matter, I was a 14 years old and in awe there isn’t a current player on the olympic team that can hit 72 straight from the free throw line never mind 3 pointers and turnarounds! And out of those 72 straight he only shot a handful from the paint area everything else was from 15ft and more, he was even hittin bank shots, it was the most amazing thing I’d ever seen!!

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