We've all heard the question of whether the 2012 Dream Team could beat the original 1992 Dream Team, and while that's a valid debate, it's not necessarily fair to all the other "Dream Teams" that came between those two teams.
It's time to put together a single-elimination tournament that features every Dream Team between 1992 and 2012. That gives us six Dream Teams in a tournament to prove once and for all which one reigns supreme.
Ahead you'll find the breakdown of this epic tournament featuring every Dream Team ever created since the 1992 Olympics.
The "Dream Teams" were created in 1992, and as long as NBA players are allowed to play in the Olympics, every USA Team from that point on will be considered a "Dream Team."
1992 Dream Team Roster—Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Charles Barkley, Chris Mullin, Patrick Ewing, Karl Malone, John Stockton, David Robinson, Scottie Pippen, Clyde Drexler, Christian Laettner.
1996 Dream Team Roster—Shaquille O'Neal, Hakeem Olajuwon, Charles Barkley, Scottie Pippen, Karl Malone, John Stockton, David Robinson, Gary Payton, Anfernee Hardaway, Grant Hill, Reggie Miller, Mitch Richmond.
2000 Dream Team Roster—Kevin Garnett, Jason Kidd, Ray Allen, Vince Carter, Gary Payton, Tim Hardaway, Alonzo Mourning, Steve Smith, Shareef Abdur-Rahim, Vin Baker, Allan Houston, Antonio McDyess.
2004 Dream Team Roster—Tim Duncan, Allen Iverson, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Amar'e Stoudemire, Shawn Marion, Carlos Boozer, Carmelo Anthony, Stephon Marbury, Richard Jefferson, Lamar Odom, Emeka Okafor.
2008 Dream Team Roster—Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Jason Kidd, Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony, Carlos Boozer, Dwight Howard, Chris Bosh, Chris Paul, Tayshaun Prince, Michael Redd, Deron Williams.
2012 Dream Team Roster—LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Chris Paul, Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, James Harden, Kevin Love, Andre Iguodala, Tyson Chandler, Deron Williams, Russell Westbrook, Anthony Davis.
This epic tournament is set up as a single-elimination tournament in which two teams will get byes in the first round of the series. The 1992 and 2012 Dream Teams are receiving the bye weeks as they've been selected as the two top teams in this tournament.
Each game is a full 48-minute matchup that is governed by the FIBA rule book.
The losing team in the first-round matchups will be eliminated from the tournament, while the losers of the semi-finals matchups will go on to face each other in a game to determine the third place team.
Here is a breakdown of the bracket for this once-in-a-lifetime tournament:
1992 Dream Team (first-round bye)—1996 Dream Team vs. 2008 Dream Team (first-round matchup)
2012 Dream Team (first-round bye)—2000 Dream Team vs. 2004 Dream Team (first-round matchup)
Key Matchups—Shaquille O'Neal (1996) vs. Dwight Howard (2008), Scottie Pippen (1996) vs. LeBron James (2008), Hakeem Olajuwon & David Robinson (1996) vs. Chris Bosh and Carlos Boozer (2008)
The 1996 vs. 2008 meeting of gold-medal winners will come down to the very thing that could end up holding the 2012 Dream Team back—frontcourt depth.
With the 2008 version of LeBron, Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony and Dwyane Wade, the 2008 team clearly has the advantage in transition and on the wing, but that won't lead them to victory.
The 1996's frontcourt depth of Olajuwon, Robinson and Shaq will be too much for the 2008 team to handle, as Dwight Howard is the only true center they have, and back in 2008 he wasn't nearly the player he is today.
Another matchup that will determine the winner here is the defensive matchup on the wing between Pippen and LeBron. While LeBron is a dominate defender, there are few players on Pippen's defensive level, and that will be put on display here.
While this will be extremely close, the 1996 Dream Team will destroy the 2008 team in the paint, and no amount of athleticism or versatility will be able to overcome that.
Score Prediction: 1996 Dream Team (102) vs. 2008 Dream Team (94)
Key Matchups: Kevin Garnett (2000) vs. Tim Duncan (2004), Jason Kidd (2000) vs. Allen Iverson (2004), Steve Smith (2000) vs. LeBron James (2004), Alonzo Mourning (2000) vs. Amar'e Stoudemire (2004), Vince Carter (2000) vs. Shawn Marion (2004)
While the 2004 USA Men's Team is the only "Dream Team" to fall short of winning the gold medal, that doesn't mean they aren't going to be competitive in this tournament.
The foundation of this matchup comes down to which team will be able to get out in transition and push the pace of the game more. That advantage goes to the 2004 team, as the athleticism they have on their roster will help them rise to the top in this matchup.
The 2000 team has an impressive frontcourt duo with Garnett and Mourning, but the 2004 team will certainly counter that with their frontcourt depth of Stoudemire, Duncan and Carlos Boozer.
A key factor in this matchup is going to be the head coaching battle between Rudy Tomjanovich and Larry Brown, and Brown's Olympic experience will help him have the advantage here.
This matchup will be close throughout, but the backcourt depth and athleticism that the 2004 Dream Team has with Iverson, LeBron, Wade and 'Melo will help them score the big upset here.
Score Prediction: 2000 Dream Team (98) vs. 2004 Dream Team (102)
Key Matchups: Michael Jordan (1992) vs. Scottie Pippen (1996), Patrick Ewing (1992) vs. Hakeem Olajuwon (1996), Magic Johnson (1992) vs. Gary Payton (1996), Clyde Drexler (1992) vs. Grant Hill (1996).
The 1992 Dream Team enters the tournament as the most dominant Dream Team in Olympic history, but that doesn't exactly mean they will be untouchable as they go up against other dominant USA men's Olympic teams.
While these teams are only four years apart, they are still significantly different, with the major difference between the teams coming in the depth in their backcourts when it comes to veteran experience and production.
While the 1996 team has explosive players like Reggie Miller, Anfernee Hardaway, Mitch Richmond and Grant Hill, their talent hails in comparison to the 1992 team's backcourt consisting of Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Clyde Drexler, Larry Bird and the list goes on.
The 1992 team will play at a higher level of efficiency and chemistry, and while the 1996 team will keep it close early, the original Dream Team will ultimately pull away and win in impressive fashion.
There's no doubt that the 1996 Dream Team, with their average winning margin of 31.8 points per game, is one of the best USA men's teams to ever assemble. But the fact that the 1992 Dream Team could make them look so pedestrian goes to show just how dominant the 1992 team truly is.
Score Prediction: 1992 Dream Team (116) vs. 1996 Dream Team (97)
Key Matchups: Allen Iverson (2004) vs. Chris Paul & Deron Williams (2012), Tim Duncan (2004) vs. Tyson Chandler (2012), Dwyane Wade (2004) vs. Carmelo Anthony (2012), Richard Jefferson (2004) vs. LeBron James (2012).
While the 2004 Dream Team pulled off an impressive upset in the first round, that unfortunately won't be happening in the semifinals. The 2012 Dream Team is just too good, and they don't even have all the players they should have on their team.
Just imagine what the 2012 team would look like with Blake Griffin, Dwight Howard and Dwyane Wade on their roster.
Both the 2004 and 2012 teams lack serious frontcourt depth, but that won't hurt the 2012 team as much as it ends up hurting the 2004 team. With the versatile talent the 2012 team as on the wing with LeBron, 'Melo, Kobe and Durant, they won't need frontcourt production to absolutely dominate.
This matchup could turn into a blowout quickly, because the 2012 team has such a heightened level of physicality—specifically on the defensive side of the ball.
In a game so often dictated by offensive production, the 2012 Dream Team's ability to suffocate the 2004 team on the perimeter will blow this one wide open.
Score Prediction: 2004 Dream Team (80) vs. 2012 Dream Team (105)
Key Matchups: Hakeem Olajuwon (1996) vs. Tim Duncan (2004), Charles Barkley (1996) vs. Amar'e Stoudemire (2004), Reggie Miller (1996) vs. Dwyane Wade (2004), Gary Payton (1996) vs. Allen Iverson (2004).
Things just keep getting worse for the 2004 Dream Team. After facing off against a much better 2012 USA men's team and losing, they go up against a very dominant 1996 USA men's team, and the outcome of this matchup will be exactly the same.
At the foundation of the 1996 team's success in this game is their impressive frontcourt depth. The 2004 team just doesn't have the talent to keep up with 1996 team, and there's no way around it.
The 2004 team won't have answers for players like David Robinson, Hakeem Olajuwon, Charles Barkley and Shaquille O'Neal in the paint, and they'll find themselves on the outside looking in come time for the medal ceremony.
Score Prediction: 1996 Dream Team (113) vs. 2004 Dream Team (81)
Key Matchups: Michael Jordan (1992) vs. Kobe Bryant (2012), Magic Johnson (1992) vs. LeBron James (2012), Scottie Pippen (1992) vs. Kevin Durant (2012), David Robinson/Patrick Ewing (1992) vs. Tyson Chandler (2012).
Here is the matchup we've all been waiting for. A showdown between the 1992 and 2012 Dream Teams. A matchup that will certainly be highly contested and highly debated.
There's no doubt that the 1992 Dream Team has the frontcourt advantage in this game, but that alone won't lead them to an epic victory here. The 2012 Dream Team will make up for their lack of frontcourt depth with their versatility on the defensive side of the ball.
Guys like LeBron, Anthony Davis, James Harden, Tyson Chandler and Andre Iguodala will be forced to amp up their defense to hang with the 1992 team, and that's exactly what they will do.
This one will come down to the last few possessions. In a game like that, the advantage goes to team with more suffocating defense, and that is the 2012 Dream Team. The 1992 team certainly will get out in transition, but so will the 2012 team, and both are equally dangerous with the ball in transition.
In the halfcourt, players like Kobe, LeBron, 'Melo and Durant will carry the offensive load for the 2012 team, while guys like Jordan, Drexler, Magic and Ewing will counter for the 1992 team. In the end, backcourt depth will reign supreme, and that advantage goes to the 2012 team.
The physicality that defined the original, 1992 Dream Team will not only be matched by the 2012 Dream Team, it will be outdone, and that is at the foundation of this epic upset.
Score Prediction: 1992 Dream Team (88) vs. 2012 Dream Team (92)