LeBron James echoes Kobe Bryant’s sentiments about the 2012 version of Team USA being able to win against the Dream Team which includes hardwood legends like Scottie Pippen, Magic Johnson, Charles Barkley and the infamously majestic figure, the Michael Jordan.
According to ESPN, James realizes how vital the Dream Team was to paving the way, but that doesn’t make them infallible.
"The '92 Dream Team paved the way for all of us ... We understand what they did for our game, but we also are big-time competitors as well, so if we got the opportunity to play them in a game we feel like we would win too," James said.
Of course, his comments are welcoming a hailstorm of personality bashes and the declaration of proposed ignorance on James’ part. It’s nothing he hasn’t experienced and he knew once he opened his mouth, once again clearing the stage for Michael Jordan comparisons, the floodgates would flail open.
However, push aside the feelings that the Dream Team was the first to dominate in such an amazingly raw fashion in international basketball.
The first are always going to be looked at as the best because they were the pioneers so to speak. There was no pathway to follow so clearing the brushes to landmark a new style of victory is always going to work in the Dream Team’s favor.
Yet, does that mean the team would wipe the floor with the men that have spent half of their careers chasing legends?
No, it doesn’t. Fortunately for the 2012 Team USA roster, comprised of LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, etc., the fact that the Dream Team came first takes nothing away from how they have sculpted their abilities and the game itself ever since.
Holding on to that impregnable fraction of basketball history keeps the game pure in a way. It was a time where flopping was considered a spectacle and not a way of getting to the foul line. It was a time where teamwork mattered more than simply loading a roster with stars and throwing them in a den of lions.
Declaring that this year’s Team USA is better would be like proclaiming that they have overridden such a rich time of the game. It’s not like that at all, however. Comparing the two rosters and coming to the realization that there is a possibility that the LeBron, Kobe-led bunch could trump the Magic, Jordan-led crew is just a sign of progression.
After watching such an exquisite display of basketball in ’92, there was supposed to be no one better, hence the name “Dream Team.” But, there is something better.
There is a roster of men that are primarily young in age and seasoned in skill. There is a player like Russell Westbrook, 23, who is a consistent athletic mismatch to anyone else on the court, including some members of his own team.
Kevin Durant is a 23-year-old that dedicates himself to the game as if he were an implant from the old school ways of the league. LeBron James is the most amazing athletic specimen that fans have ever seen in the NBA.
Kobe Bryant has won five NBA championships and can still drop 40-plus on any given night. Chris Paul is the purest point guard in the league to date. Carmelo Anthony is a pure scorer who has exposed the defensive prowess scowling in the pits of his game.
It could go on and on, but the point of the matter is that this Team USA version shouldn’t be shrugged at. They will all go down as some of the greatest to play the game with a few of them trumping some members of the ’92 Dream Team.
Therefore, it isn’t farfetched to believe that the ’12 Team USA could take it to the ’92 Dream Team, even if only once.