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Kobe Bryant concedes Dream Team was better

Kobe Bryant sparked a massive debate when he said earlier this month that the current Team USA basketball squad would beat the Dream Team. After reiterating his stance to reporters, Bryant has finally backtracked and admitted that the Dream Team was better.

“I didn’t say we were a better team,” Bryant said Friday at an introductory Olympic news conference, according to the Los Angeles Times’ Mike Bresnahan. “But if you think we can’t beat that team one time? Like I’m going to say no, that we’d never beat them.

“They are a better team,” Bryant said. “The question was ‘Can we beat them?’ Yes we can. Of course we can.

“We like where we are but we’re not going to compare ourselves to them because those guys are living legends. We just hope that when our careers are all said and done, people can look back on our team and say we had quite a bit of Hall of Famers as well.”

That sure sounds a lot different from the guy who doubled down on his original quotes by saying the Dream Team once lost to a college team. The funny thing is that Kobe backed off his original opinion at the same time LeBron James entered the debate by agreeing with his current Olympic teammate.

Saying that the Dream Team was better is accurate because nearly all of its members are in the Hall of Fame. Many of the current Team USA players are in the middle of their careers. But like Kobe and LeBron said, for one game, this team could definitely beat the Dream Team. A full series would be a different story.

Photo credit: Gary A. Vasquez-US PRESSWIRE

LeBron James respectfully says Team USA could beat Dream Team (Video)

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LeBron James is an image-conscious player who tries not to hurt peoples’ feelings. That’s why when he said that the current Team USA basketball team could beat the 1992 Dream Team, which is considered by many to be one of the best teams of all time, he did so in a respectful manner.

“As a competitor you never want to say that you will lose no matter who you are going against,” James told “Nightline” anchor Cynthia McFadden.

“The ’92 Dream Team paved the way for all of us. They set a standard for the Olympics and basketball in general that’s very high.

“We understand what they did for our game, but we also are big-time competitors as well so if we had the opportunity to play them in a game, we feel like we would win too,” James said.

LeBron was defending his teammate Kobe Bryant when he said the current Team USA would win. Kobe said a few weeks ago that they could beat the Dream Team, and he reiterated his stance last weekend.

Charles Barkley and Scottie Pippen have predicted an easy win for the Dream Team, while Michael Jordan laughed at Kobe.

Though I feel like the Dream Team would win a series between the two, I agree with Kobe that the current team could win on any given day. The one key would be LeBron and Kobe entering the game with confidence, not intimidation, which they seem to be feeling.

Note: This post also appeared on Yardbarker’s Olympics blog Medal Detector

Marc Gasol doesn’t think Team USA would have a chance against Dream Team

Just when you thought the current Team USA vs. Dream Team debate was over, Marc Gasol came in with possibly the harshest assessment of all. Gasol and several other members of the Spanish basketball team talked to Hoops Hype about Team USA and they were asked whether the current team was better than the Dream Team that won gold in Barcelona in 1992. The Grizzlies big man didn’t speak well of the current squad.

“Who has created this debate?” Gasol asked. “They have, right? On a bad day for the ’92 team, the current team would lose by just 15 or 20 points against them.”

The other players who were interviewed by Hoops Hype sided with the Dream Team, though with less conviction than Gasol.

He’s not the only NBA player who questioned the current squad; Argentina’s Andres Nocioni isn’t so confident in their abilities either.

“The U.S. team will have to work very hard for the gold medal and I’m not so sure they will get it,” he said.

Both players are competing against Team USA for medals at the Olympics, so it’s understandable why they would be reluctant to give the US squad too much credit. But Gasol’s comments are beyond not wanting to give credit and more along the lines of disrespectful. He’ll have a lot to live up to when Spain and the US meet. And we know one thing: Scottie Pippen, Charles Barkley, and Michael Jordan would definitely agree with him.

Note: This post also appeared on Yardbarker’s Olympics blog Medal Detector
Photo Credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE

Kobe Bryant stands by opinion on Dream Team: ‘They got beaten by a college team’

You think Kobe Bryant has backed off his widely discussed and controversial belief that the current U.S. Olympic hoops team would beat the 1992 Dream Team? Think again. After all, this is Kobe Bryant we’re talking about.

The debate that seemingly doesn’t want to go away was revived again on Saturday in Spain when Kobe was asked if he’s reconsidered his stance.

Nope.

“People who think we can’t beat that team for one game, they’re crazy,” Bryant told reporters. “To sit there and say we can’t, it’s ludicrous.”

He was then asked if he plans to bring this up with Michael Jordan, who led the Dream Team, the next time the two legendary players (and trash talkers) come face to face.

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Magic Johnson weighs in on Dream Team debate: We ‘had too many winners’ to lose

Kobe Bryant spoke. And the Dream Team has scoffed in response.

Following the trend already established by his 1992 Olympic teammates, Magic Johnson became the latest Dream Team member (and human being) to decry Kobe’s much-discussed comments that the current Olympic team would beat the legendary 1992 Olympic basketball team.

Magic sent out these tweets on Thursday:

By comparison, if you’re keeping score at home, the 2012 squad has zero hall-of-famers (so far), seven NBA titles (so far) and definitely does not have Michael Jordan.

Whoa. Magic might be selling the 2012 team way short with that one. That’s the kind of tweet the current squad’s players, if they were smart, would take as disrespect and use as “bulletin board material” in preparation for this hypothetical game we all want to see.

Magic joins the likes of other notable Dream Teamers Jordan, Charles Barkley and Scottie Pippen in deriding Kobe’s remarks. You’d think Kobe talked trash about their mothers, the way they seemed so insulted. That’s perhaps why Larry Bird’s tongue-in-cheek response was so perfect.

Note: This post also appeared on Fox Sports’s Medal Detector blog

Scottie Pippen: Dream Team would beat current Team USA by 25

Count Scottie Pippen as the latest person to weigh-in on the Dream Team vs. current Team USA debate.

The subject heated up this week when Kobe Bryant said the current Team USA basketball squad would have beaten the 1992 Dream Team. Michael Jordan laughed off Kobe’s comments while Charles Barkley predicted a double-digit win for the ’92 group. Scottie Pippen feels similarly.

“I think we could probably beat this team by 25,” Pippen said while watching Team USA destroy the Dominican Republic in an exhibition game on Thursday. “I’ll go out on a limb and say that.”

Pippen made his comments during a guest appearance on ESPN’s telecast of the exhibition which the US won easily.

“We were well-rounded,” Pippen said. “We had good bigs, we had good small forwards, good guards. We didn’t deal with any injuries, so that team stayed assembled. [The current USA] team is really not what they put together. Even though they have some great talent and they brought in more talented players, I just felt like that team is the best of the best.

“We would have attacked this team. From inside, we would be able to attack them with our bigs. Defensively we would have shut them down because we would get up on them as they’re trying to do to this Dominican team,” Pippen concluded.

There’s no way to ever have the question answered, but it’s worth noting that sports books would have favored the Dream Team by anywhere from 6-8.5 points in a hypothetical game. Computer simulations also favor the Dream Team.

I think it would have been a close contest, but the edge goes to the Dream Team for one simple reason: Michael Jordan. With him on the team, I don’t think they would have lost.

Note: This post also appeared on the Yardbarker Olympics blog Medal Detector

Michael Jordan on Kobe Bryant’s Team USA comment: ‘I absolutely laughed’

Kobe Bryant knew he would create quite the stir when he said on Wednesday that the 2012 edition of Team USA could beat the 1992 Dream Team that most believe is the greatest Olympic team of all time. He’s Kobe Bryant — that’s what he does. Unsurprisingly, Charles Barkley strongly disagreed with Kobe’s assessment that the 1992 team was “old,” noting that Kobe is about five years older than most of them were. Michael Jordan also thinks Kobe is out of his mind, but at least he got a good chuckle out of it.

Jordan told The Associated Press Thursday that he laughed, “I absolutely laughed” when hearing Bryant’s comments that the squad training in Las Vegas could take Jordan and company.

Jordan says there was “no comparison” which team was better, adding that Byrant comparing the two teams “is not one of the smarter things he ever could have done.”

Unfortunately, we will never get the answer to this question unless somebody throws it on a video game simulator. As we all know, those things don’t lie. Personally, I’d lean toward the 1992 team. Given the number of injuries Team USA has sustained this season, I think they’d have a tough time against His Airness and company.