Debates are what make sports fun. How many times have you argued Kobe Bryant-LeBron James in your life? Michael Jordan-Kobe? Tom Brady-Peyton Manning? Manning-Dan Marino? Magic Johnson’s Lakers-Jordan’s Bulls? The list goes on and on.
It makes you scream on top of your lungs and sometimes you can legitimately hate your best friend because you disagree with him. The current debate that it taking place at most bars and basements is the 1992 Dream Team against the current 2012 USA basketball team. Instead of your typical “who’s better” debate; let’s make an All-Time Dream Team combining the two.
The 1992 squad is one of a kind and will possibly go down as the greatest team ever in the history of sports. With 11 Hall of Famers with some of them entering their prime, we might never see such a team assembled again. They won their six Olympic games by an average of 51.5 points. The word dominance gives that accomplishment a slap in the face.
This current team representing our country has a majority of its players just entering their prime. You have LeBron, say what you want about him but there is no arguing how great he is as a player. Kevin Durant is on the cusp of his prime and is right under LeBron as the best player in the world, if not the best scorer. Chris Paul and Deron Williams are unselfish point guards who make playing point guard in the NBA easy. Carmelo Anthony is showing he is the best scorer on this Olympic team early in their scrimmages.
The one clear advantage the 1992 team has over the 2012 team is the big men. Charles Barkley, Patrick Ewing, David Robinson, and Karl Malone are in the top 10 big men of all time conversation. Team USA this year has solid big men in Tyson Chandler and Kevin Love, but they have a raw and unproven player in Anthony Davis who hasn’t even played a minute in a NBA training camp.
So who makes the all-time USA Dream Team?
Point Guard: Magic Johnson – Magic is probably the best point guard ever, but he was 33 and coming off his absence of the league due to his HIV announcement. You can’t go wrong with Chris Paul here, but have to give Magic the advantage here.
Shooting Guard: Michael Jordan – The debate you have been having for years, Kobe or Jordan. Michael Jordan was entering his prime that made him the best basketball player the world has ever seen. Kobe out of his prime is still scoring close to 30 points a game in the NBA. Jordan is the best ever, playing the best ball of his life, so Jordan gets the slight nod here.
Small Forward: LeBron James – The 1992 team had legends here with Larry Bird, Scottie Pippen, Clyde Drexler, and Chris Mullin. All four of these hall of famers can score from anywhere on the court and will make any defender look silly. The 2012 team aren’t any scrubs either, with 3 strong candidates for the Hall of Fame when their careers are over in LeBron, Durant, and Carmelo. There is no wrong answer here, but you have to give it to LeBron. The guy does everything right on the court. Just imagine right now Magic, Jordan, and LeBron on the court at the same time.
Power Forward: Charles Barkley – The weak spot in the 2012 team is the strength of the 1992 team. The only natural PF the 2012 team has is Kevin Love and even though he is an awesome NBA player and puts up big numbers, he can’t be in this conversation. Coach K has been mixing his Forwards up so far, starting 2 out of the 3 in Durant, LeBron, and Melo at the 3 and 4. With that, Charles Barkley is the overwhelming choice here. He led the 1992 team with 18 points per game and was the heart and soul of the team. Charles is tough and will back up his team no matter what the price.
Center: Patrick Ewing – The 2012 team has Tyson Chandler coming off his best defensive season and playing the best ball of his career. The 2012 team had top 5 centers of all time in Patrick Ewing and David Robinson. Tyson is great, but can’t compare to these two at both their current stages in their careers. With almost identical stats, I’m giving the edge to Knick legend Patrick Ewing. He and Barkley would be a terror in the paint in any era.
With seven spots left on the All-Time Dream Team, you really can’t go wrong with anyone. The next seven I will pick are hall of famers are probable Hall of Famers.
Chris Paul would be a perfect compliment to Magic Johnson off the bench. He is intelligent and could play with anyone and make them even better than they are. The next player off the bench has to be Kobe Bryant. He is a pure scorer and him coming in for Jordan just sounds right. My next 5 spots can go any way you want. I will start off by giving Carmelo Anthony one of the spots. He has been carving up the international style of play and can play both power forward and small forward.
I will give another spot to David Robinson; he is a center who gives this Team USA no disadvantage when you put him in for either Ewing or Barkley. My 5h spot in the bench goes to Scottie Pippen. One of the 50 best players ever, he can defend anyone in the world had gives team USA balance on both sides of the court off the bench. My second to last spot goes to Kevin Durant, who can go in the game at any time and put points on the board at anytime and anywhere. My last spot goes to Larry Bird, the ultimate professional. Even though at his point of his career he wasn’t the Larry Bird we all know and fear, I dare you to leave him open.
So the Ultimate Team USA squad looks like:
PG – Magic Johnson & Chris Paul
SG – Michael Jordan & Kobe Bryant
SF – LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, Scottie Pippen, & Larry Bird
PF – Charles Barkley
C – Patrick Ewing & David Robinson
These 12 can easily beat anyone in the world with their left hand tied behind their back. You can put up any kind of starting five you want. How bout a starting five of: LeBron, Kobe, Jordan, Carmelo, and Ewing? Or Chris Paul, Durant, Magic, Pippen, and Barkley? You can mix and match any type of rotation you want and this team will embarrass any team ever. Period.
Sports are about debate and preference. If you like the veterans games of 92 over this year’s team I’m sure you would make a couple switches, but hey that’s what debate and opinion is about. I had a lot of fun writing this can look forward to hearing your all time squad. Bring it up with your friends; I’m sure the debate can go on for hours.