In terms of sheer drama and terror-stricken opponents, nothing may ever touch the original Dream Team. During the Summer of 1992, which amazingly enough is now 20 years in the distant past, Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and the rest of the best the NBA had to offer teamed up to form one of the best basketball squads ever assembled.
On Wednesday night, we'll have the privilege of watching "The Dream Team," an NBA TV special about the inner workings of that team, the drama that took place behind the scenes and the relationships of those involved.
"But now fans can relive those magical Games — or experience them for the first time — through “The Dream Team,” a documentary premiering Wednesday night on NBA TV. The film, narrated by Ed Burns, isn’t a 90-minute highlight reel of the Red, White & Blue’s blowout wins but rather offers an inside look at how the team was selected, how the players got along and what the coaches did to get 11 future Hall of Fame players (with Hall of Fame egos) to play together."
If there's a better time to compare the current Olympic squad (which, keep in mind, has yet to be firmly decided) to the gold standard, I can't think of it.
Let's break it down.
In terms of sheer star power, it's hard to touch the original Dream Team.
Here's the full roster: Charles Barkley, Larry Bird, Clyde Drexler, Patrick Ewing, Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Christian Laettner, Karl Malone, Scottie Pippen, David Robinson and John Stockton. Additionally, Chuck Daly served as the head coach with Mike Krzyzewski, Lenny Wilkens and P.J. Carlesimo filling the assistant roles.
With the lone exception of Laettner, every player on the roster was a bona fide superstar. The talent on this squad is just exceptional and features a number of the greatest players of all time.
Now, how about this year's team?
With Krzyzewski still involved, this time as the head coach, Jim Boeheim, Mike D'Antoni and Nate McMillan will fill up the bench.
As for the roster, here's the list of finalists, with players who I think should make the final cut italicized: Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, Kobe Bryant, Tyson Chandler, Anthony Davis, Kevin Durant, Rudy Gay, Eric Gordon, Blake Griffin, James Harden, Andre Iguodala, LeBron James, Kevin Love, Lamar Odom, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade, Russell Westbrook and Deron Williams.
It may be hard to believe because the names from the original Dream Team are etched in our minds as legendary, but the current roster has the potential to fall just short of the original one in terms of talent. Had Dwight Howard and Derrick Rose stayed healthy, it may have been able to match it.
The Passing of the Torch
As the aforementioned article reports, "We won’t get into any spoilers, but one of the big themes of the film was that the Olympics doubled as a passing-of-the-torch moment between Johnson and Jordan for the title of best player in the NBA."
Unfortunately, that's one thing that this Olympic experience will be devoid of. The metaphorical basketball torch is firmly in the hands of LeBron James and that won't change unless he pulls a Thunderstruck.
Kevin Durant may be the best player in the world one day and hold said torch for the Olympic squad, but that day will not occur for at least another round or two of the worldwide competition.
Between the lack of torch passing and the relative dearth of animosity between the players on the squad, there won't be as much drama during this year's Olympic Games. The level of basketball will be nearly as high, but don't expect a documentary 20 years from now.