Thursday, July 5, 2012

Dream Team vs Redeem Team

     Every 4 years, the US Men's Basketball Olympic Team is compared to the 1992 "Dream Team". Because of some recent comments by USA Basketball Chairman Jerry Colangelo, that debate has new life in the world of sports. All I have heard on ESPN Radio and 106.7 The Fan the past couple days is the idea that nobody will ever be better than the Dream Team. However, this is the exact reason why they are at fault. Claiming that no team will ever rival them in talent tells me that they have neglected to do their research. Implying that things have not gotten better over time in an age of Tweets, iPhones, and Snuggies is utter stupidity.

     For argument's sake, I will take into account the fact that Colangelo was referring to an injury-free 2012 team, known in 2008 as the 'Redeem Team', and I can only detail the matchups between the starting line-ups.

  Dream Team                                Swag Team
Earvin Johnson (6-8, 215)                 LeBron James (6-8, 250)
Michael Jordan (6-6, 195)                 Kobe Bryant (6-6, 200)
Larry Bird (6-9, 220)                         Kevin Durant (6-9, 235)
Charles Barkley (6-6, 252)                Dwyane Wade (6-4, 220)
David Robinson (7-1, 235)                 Dwight Howard (6-11, 265)

     LeBron "King" James vs. Earvin "Magic" Johnson
     Easiest match-up to judge in my opinion, because in 1992 Magic was 32, 1 year removed from the NBA, and had already contracted HIV. Clyde Drexler went as far as to say that people felt sorry for him. LeBron James, on the other hand, is 27, the reigning league MVP, the reigning Finals MVP, and would bring a sort of athleticism and lack of regard for human life that Magic would not be able to handle at this stage in his career. Advantage: Redeem Team, it doesn't get any better than LeBron right now.

Kobe Bryant "The Black Mamba" vs. Michael Jordan "His Airness"
     In a word: Jordan. Kobe has not shown his age as of yet, but I am confident that Michael would find a way to bring it out of him. At this stage, Michael would have had the advantage on Kobe in every way: athletically, fundamentally, and internally. Kobe's best attributes are his heart and determination, but that would make no difference against Jordan. Advantage: Dream Team, 'His Airness' is the greatest there ever was.

Kevin Durant "The Durantula"  vs. Larry Bird "The Hick from French Lick"
     Larry Bird was 35 years old when he played on the Dream Team. There is no way that he could have handled Kevin Durant at that stage of his career based on athletic ability alone. However, Durant has a tendency to be soft on the boards, so he could become a victim at times. Both players have tremendous outside shots, but KD is coming off 3 straight scoring titles. These players are pretty similar in a number of ways, but the old man is no match for the kid. Advantage: Redeem Team, Durantula is a superstar on the rise.

Dwyane Wade "Flash" vs. Charles Barkley "The Round Mound of Rebound"
     It seems unconventional to put Wade up against a power forward, but other than LeBron he is the only player with the versatility to defend a player with Chuck's offensive skill set. Both players are around the same age, and Barkley's overt physicality would look to cancel out Wade's extreme quickness. This would probably be the most intriguing matchup, as both players are known to have quick tempers, and in a 7 game series a fight is bound to happen. Advantage: Dream Team, I firmly believe in Dwyane Wade as the most creative talent in the league. Although he has a disadvantage with his size, he has always found a way to be efficient and effective. However, Sir Charles is simply too strong to allow Wade to get in the paint or be stopped inside the paint.

David Robinson "The Admiral" vs. Dwight Howard "Superman"
      The Admiral is by far the better player in this match-up, but he's also on the lighter side. In 1992, Robinson weighed in at 30 pounds less than Howard despite being 2 inches taller. Superman's super athleticism is enough for most opponents, and despite his lack of basketball skills he would match-up well with Robinson because of his strength and leaping ability. Advantage: None, I truly believe that Howard's 30 pound advantage down low cancels out the 2-inch difference.

The Verdict
     Count that up as 2 wins for the Redeem Team, 2 wins for Dream Team, and 1 tie between the two. Make no mistake, these two starting fives would play each other extremely close, but the bench players of the Dream Team would undoubtedly make the difference. My only point, is to say that complete and utter dismissal of new school vs. old school is foolish. These athletes grew up with athletic trainers, get paid 8 figures per year, and are still changing the game. LeBron is the new age version of Magic: a bigger, stronger, faster guard that cannot be stopped. Kobe is the new version of Jordan: a fearless player with undeniable heart. There are endless other examples of 21st century counterparts. Teams in this day and age do not dominate international competition, because there are so many international players in the NBA. Players like Steve Nash (2-Time MVP), Dirk Nowitski (MVP & Finals MVP), and Tony Parker (Finals MVP) did not exist back in the 90s. Say what you want about the "Golden Age" of the NBA, you can give me LeBron James, D-Wade, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, and Dwight Howard against anybody and I will almost certainly choose them.


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  2. get real

    the 1992 Dream Team wouldve wiped the floor with this current group

    the trifecta of Jordan-Bird-Magic wouldve been enough... their will to win, toughness, and determination alone would make this 2012 team pee their warm up pants... especially MJ and Bird, they wouldve NEVER allowed a loss to a team like 2012

    1. Its true that these guys were great players with determination and such, but I think it is foolish to suggest that Kobe, LeBron, and Wade do not have these same qualities as well. Especially when these guys are, for the most part, younger & and at more productive points in their careers.

  3. I think it would be very interesting to see the two teams play one another, but after watching that footage of the Dream team I really don't think the redeem team would be able to beat them. And if these two teams both played in their primes (if it were at all possible) then I know for a fact the dream team would win.

  4. not fair to compare jordan magic bird barkley thats all i got to say