“You can’t cover the sun with your finger.”
It’s the now infamous quote made by Cuban national basketball head coach Miguel Calderon Gomez after his Cuban team fell to the United States by a whopping 79 points on June 28, 1992, during an Olympic warm-up in Portland, Ore.
The 136-57 victory not only served as the international debut for what is now known as “The Dream Team," but also as a warning to the rest of the world. This was not a team you could take lightly anymore. Let me rephrase that: this was not a team you could beat, let alone compete with.
After a disappointing third place finish at the 1988 games in Seoul, the addition by FIBA to include professional players in the Olympics proved to be more than enough ammunition for the United States.
Led by the likes of Michael Jordan, Patrick Ewing and Magic Johnson, the Americans would go on to defeat their opponents by an average of 44 points on their way to wrapping up the gold medal against Croatia at the 1992 Summer Olympics held in Barcelona. To this day, it is considered as one of the most incredible runs made by any team, in any sport, ever.
The Dream Team? Please. Even the most imaginative human being couldn’t have dreamt up a team this dominant.
The team, elected to the basketball Hall of Fame in 2010, boasted 11 future Hall of Famers out of its 12-man roster.
It’s a feat that easily has them dubbed the greatest team ever assembled. Ask anyone, and they’ll assure you that those guys were unbeatable.
That is, unless you ask Kobe Bryant.
“I think [the 2012 United States National Basketball squad] could beat the 1992 Dream Team,” Bryant boldly predicted (via Yahoo!).
The statement sent shock waves throughout the entire basketball world. Talking heads from all over debated the issue, including members from both squads.
Most notable, Michael Jordan stirred the pot when asked about the comments.
“I absolutely laughed when I heard Kobe’s remarks,” the six-time NBA champion told the Associated Press (via ESPN). “For him to compare those two teams is not one of the smarter things he ever could have done. Remember, they learned from us. We didn’t learn from them.”
The verbal jabs continued from players, and pundits alike, with even margin of victory predictions thrown about. The sports betting system AccuScore got in on the action as well, predicting that the 2012 team would beat the 1992 squad 47 percent of the time.
As outrageous of a statement that many will make you to believe it was, it really isn’t that far off. The 2012 squad is led by Kobe Bryant, Chris Paul, Kevin Durant, and LeBron James. All of whom could hold their own with anyone on the ’92 squad.
However, with 20 years between the two squad, it’s impossible settle this one on the court. So let’s take a crack at breaking this one down ourselves.
The starting lineups we will be using for discussion purposes will be listed below. The stats will be taken from the ’91-92 season for the ’92 squad and from the past season for this year’s squad.
Patrick Ewing C Tyson Chandler
Charles Barkley PF Kevin Durant
Scottie Pippen SF LeBron James
Michael Jordan SG Kobe Bryant
Magic Johnson PG Chris Paul
Let's get this started...