A few weeks ago Kobe Bryant said he thought this year’s Team USA Basketball would beat the 1992 “Dream Team.” It sparked much debate. And now Lebron James has said the same thing.
Common perception is that the ’92 team would win for two reasons: It had Michael Jordan, the greatest player to ever live; and the current team has far inferior centers (Tyson Chandler and college kid Anthony Davis) than Patrick Ewing and David Robinson. I loved the 1992 team. When I was 15 years old, watching Charles Barkley dunk all over helpless Angolans in the Olympics was one of the coolest sports things I’d ever seen. They were (and probably always will be) the greatest collection of basketball talent ever assembled; for their time period.
I hate the fact that I have to agree with Lebron, but if you could somehow put the ’92 guys exactly as there were then in a gym today with the current Team USA, the new guys definitely would win. NBA players are bigger, faster, and stronger than they were 20 years ago. They have better nutrition, better training/workout programs, and better medical science keeping them healthy.
In 1992 the world record in the hundred meter dash was held by Carl Lewis; 9.86 seconds. It’s now only 9.58 seconds (Usain Bolt). Twenty years ago Matt Bionde held the swimming record for fastest 100 meter freestyle at 48.42 seconds. Now some guy named Amaury Leveaux has done it in 44.94. And finally the world record for the marathon in 1992 was 2 hours, 6 minutes, and 5 seconds. Today it is 2 minutes and 27 seconds less than that.
The greatest athletes in the world are just better at what they do now than they were two decades ago. Why should basketball be the exception? Remember this old Scottie Pippen commercial? I used to think that was what would happen if you put him in the 1950’s NBA with the likes of Bob Cousy. Well guess what Scottie, this time you’d be in black and white.
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