Tuesday , Sep , 04 , 2007 Oly Sandor

The Greatest Of All-Time: Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony, & 2007 Team USA Or Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, & 1992 Dream Team?

It’s tough to compare the current American squad to the Dream Team. The circumstances surrounding both teams are different. The 2007 squad still has to reclaim America’s seat on top of the basketball world. They’ll face legitimate competition at the upcoming Beijing Olympics. And there’s no mystique or awe surrounding Stars and Stripes’ basketball …

It’s like a pitcher throwing a no-hitter. And an NHL goalie posting a shutout in the third period. Nobody wanted to compare the 2007 US team to the 1992 Dream Team.

Until now …

Jose Ortiz, a long standing member of the Puerto Rican national team, had this to say:

"I think this team is much better. When ’92 came, Larry Bird was already coming out [of the NBA], Magic was coming out. Those guys were legends, but this team is a great, talented team."

Argentine coach Sergio Hernandez had these thoughts:

"It is obvious that no one will ever forget the original Dream Team with Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird, but I really like this Team USA team because they also have players of the same caliber such as LeBron James and Kobe Bryant who know how to really play together.

They have good chemistry. They play great defense, but the most important thing for us would be the respect they have for all the other teams so much," said Hernandez, who apologized for his broken English. "I tell you, and I want to say that again and again and again, because I like when teams play hard. If they can beat me by 40 points, I don’t want them to beat me by 20 points. I want 40 points — and this is what they do.

So, I say thank you. It was a big pleasure to play against you. The game, you see the game. They shoot 20 3-point shots, 25 fast-break points, 15 offensive rebounds. They kill Argentina. They’re great."

Team USA coach Mike Krzyzewski served as an assistant coach in 1992 with Dream Team. He offered his view:

"It was one of those unique experiences of my life, but it’s a different time. We could win on just talent alone at that time in the history of international basketball, but those days are gone."

Mark Heisler with the L.A. Times:

"Dream Team was tremendous on offense. We didn’t notice if they played any defense, and they probably didn’t. But I think the one thing the Dream Team had, besides all the greatest players, I think Magic Johnson’s personality made all the difference. He made it so that everybody wanted to play their best. Magic was the rarest of all things, he was a great player who transcended all the other great players just on personality. So there were better players on that team, Michael Jordan to start with, but Magic’s personality really made that team different.

"But the one thing I really like about this team, it seems like they’ve got really good chemistry as far as personalities. I think Kobe’s personality and Jason Kidd’s personality, I think it’s really impressive — as much better as they are than everyone here — how hard they play."

Jan Hubbard with the Fort Worth Star Telegram:

"The other thing is that those guys were just legends. They had Magic, Michael and Larry, and Charles, I think in the Olympics kind of became like a legend. He was the second-best player on that team. Michael was first and Scottie [Pippen] was third.

But that team was older, I think they had five guys over 30 — this one has two — more Finals appearances, more championships, more of a veteran team, and just this aura that was incredible.

But this team is a reasonable facsimile of that, and except for the ’96 team, is the best international team they’ve had — and has the most promise."

My Quick Take: These quotes were taken from ESPN insider Chris Sheridan’s blog. He’s a great reporter. Check out his work in ESPN’s basketball section.

It’s tough to compare the current American squad to the Dream Team. The circumstances surrounding both teams are different. The 2007 squad still has to reclaim America’s seat on top of the basketball world. They’ll face legitimate competition at the upcoming Beijing Olympics. And there’s no mystique or awe surrounding Stars and Stripes’ basketball.

While Dream Team was a traveling band of rock stars. The gold medal was a given. They faced zero competition; in fact, opposing teams were only concerned with getting Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, and Larry Bird’s autograph. The score was an afterthought. The mystique and awe surrounding American basketball was at its peak.

The above quotes are interesting. Dream Team’s posts, Patrick Ewing, Karl Malone, and David Robinson, would have their way with Tyson Chandler, Dwight Howard, and Amare Stoudemire.

Dream Team had a strong bench. John Stockton, Clyde Drexler, and Scottie Pippen are part of the NBA’s fifty greatest players of all-time.

But the current version of Team USA plays defense, something Dream Team never did. For example, could slow Michael Jordan, while ‘ size would prevent Magic Johnson from running the offense out of the low block.

Age is a factor, too. The current American squad is filled with young player about to enter their prime. In 1992, most of the Dream Teamers were on the backend of their careers.

Comparisons are tough. Right now, the Dream Team edges out the 2007 American squad. But that could change after next summer’s Beijing Olympics.

Who is better: the 2007 version of Team USA or the 1992 Dream Team? Get at us in the comment box below with your thoughts.

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