Team USA Breakdown: Who Wins Between the 1992 and 2012 Squads?

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Team USA Breakdown: Who Wins Between the 1992 and 2012 Squads?
Photo by Neil Leifer

In a perfect storm of timing, Kobe Bryant, Charles Barkley and Michael Jordan have attempted to answer the unanswerable: who would win if the original Dream Team faced this year's 2012 squad?

The discussion comes just weeks after NBA TV's incredible documentary on the 1992 team aired, following the players and their personalities through their memorable run at the Barcelona Olympics.

With the current team in the midst of its London preparations, the question was posed to one of the team's leaders, Kobe Bryant, as to how his team stacked up with the legends of past.

Bryant's answer was simple: his team would win.

With shockwaves circling the globe, both Charles Barkley and Michael Jordan were asked for their opinions and, like Bryant, their answer was also simple: he's joking, right?

Said Barkley:

Listen, other than Kobe, LeBron and Kevin Durant, I don’t think anybody else on that team makes our team, to be honest with you…That’s no disrespect. I ain’t got to badmouth them. But like I said, their point guards weren’t going to beat us. That’s a no-brainer.

And Jordan:

For him to compare the two teams is not one of the smarter things he ever could have done…

I heard Kobe say we were not athletic...But we were smart. He said we were too old, but I was 29 and in the prime of my career. (Scottie Pippen) was 26 or 27, (Charles) Barkley was 29, Patrick (Ewing) was 29 and Chris Mullin was 29. Almost everybody was still in their twenties...Most of us were in the prime of our careers, at a point where athleticism doesn’t really matter...You have to know how to play the game.

While both Dream Teamers are right to point out that it's unlikely that the current squad has 11 future Hall of Famers on it (like the Dream Team did), the topic of new-age athleticism makes the conversation interesting.

Would guys like Durant and LeBron dominate the less athletically imposing players from the 90s? Or would the difference in styles of play actually hinder the current players?

In a quest to answer these questions and more, we set out to take a look at each position battle in hopes of determining which side would be victorious.

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