I have been swept up in the hypothetical match up of Jordan and his original Dream Team versus LeBron, Kobe and the 2012 edition.
Man, that is a matchup I would love to see. I think it would be a fantastic game. I don’t buy into Barkley’s claim that they would win by double digits. I have faith in the Dream Team to pull it out, but I think this new Olympic team is pretty stacked as well.
I don’t think the current NBA stars have been as battle tested as Jordan and the 92 squad were playing during the uber competitive 1980’s and 90’s NBA landscape. Kobe has won fairly uncontested championships before. LeBron has met opposition, but none of it of the legendary variety. I give the 1992 team and advantage for their competitive IQ. But pound for pound, talent for talent, the top five of this 2012 squad is comparable to the 92 team. Also, it’s important to point out that the 92 team featured Bird and Magic at the end of their careers. If you combined a prime Jordan, Barkley, Pippen, Clyde and Robinson with a prime Larry and Magic, the 92 team is the all time team. The current team features LeBron and Durant in their prime, and Kobe near the end, but still dangerous.
I think the difference maker would be Scottie Pippen. His overall game, and especially his legendary defense and ability to defend every one from the point to power forwards, gives the 92 team an incredible edge. Scottie Pippen represents the 92 team’s best chance at slowing down LeBron, Durant or Kobe. LeBron has way too much size for Jordan to contain in single coverage. But I’m sure Jordan would relish the opportunity to prove me and others quite wrong. And it is exactly that kind of vindictive attitude that made Jordan unstoppable.
The best thing about this hypothetical matchup would be what I think it would do to the careers of the 2012 team. For them to face a legitimate test to their dominance would push them in a way they’ve never been pushed. Collectively or individually. LeBron was the best player in the game in Cleveland, he just simply didn’t have a strong team to get him to the top of the hill. LeBron and Durant need a fair fight, an incredible challenge like playing against all time legends, to push their games into competitive overdrive. Jordan left the game when he had ‘nothing left to prove.’ LeBron and Durant need that kind of chip on their shoulder to enter the next level of conversation. They’ve claimed this decade, but we all know they are really competing against the ghosts of that 92 team.
For those two teams to clash in their prime would be Hoop Heaven.
My money is on the vets, but it would be a hell of a game to witness. With both sides taking it incredibly personal.Tweet