Kobe Bryant raised a few eyebrows recently when he proclaimed that the current edition of the USA basketball Olympic team could beat the original Dream Team from 1992, a team comprised of Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird and others. Here are Kobe’s comments:
“Well, just from a basketball standpoint, they obviously have a lot more size than we do — you know, with [David] Robinson and [Patrick] Ewing and [Karl] Malone and those guys,” Bryant said. “But they were also — some of those wing players — were also a lot older, at kind of the end of their careers. We have just a bunch of young racehorses, guys that are eager to compete.
“So I don’t know,” Bryant continued, the trace of a smile beginning to play its way across his face. “It’d be a tough one, but I think we’d pull it out.”
As expected, Bryant’s comments caused a bit of a stir in the sports community, leading to responses from a couple of the most outspoken members of the Dream Team, Charles Barkley and Michael Jordan.
Barkley was quoted by ESPN as saying the following:
“Oh yeah, that’s no disrespect,” Barkley said. “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.”
“I just started laughing,” Barkley said. “How old is Kobe Bryant? He’s 34? And he’s calling us old? At the time, we were only like 28, 29. Michael Jordan and me were the same age. We were both 29. … Other than Kobe, LeBron (James) and Kevin Durant, I don’t think anybody else on that team makes our team.”
Said Jordan to the Associated Press:
“I absolutely laughed” – when hearing Bryant’s comments that the squad training in Las Vegas could take Jordan and company.
Jordan said there’s “no comparison” which team is better.
“For him to compare those two teams is not one of the smarter things he ever could have done,” Jordan said prior playing in a celebrity golf tournament in Charlotte.
While the debate may be fun to discuss, I have to side with Jordan and Barkley on this one. The ’92 Dream Team had size, more athleticism on the wing than they get credit for, shooters, and 6’9″ Hall of Fame point guard Magic Johnson. Plus the Dream Team won gold by an average of over 30 points for extra measure.
And what exactly are people expecting a competitor like Kobe Bryant to say? We’re talking about one of the most driven players in NBA history. Of course he expects his team would win, a quality that separates the ‘good’ from the ‘great’.