’12 Olympic team would beat ’92 ‘Dream Team’


2012 US Men's basketball team

Kobe Bryant sparked a huge debate a few weeks ago when he said that the 2012 Men’s Olympic Basketball team could beat the 1992 “Dream Team”Michael Jordan laughed, “Dream Team” said the ‘Dream Team’ would win by 25, and Charles Barkley called people “knuckleheads”.

In all reality, the 2012 team is more athletic, explosive and has more ‘pure’ scorers than the 1992 team. I have profound respect for every player that played on the 1992 team. 11 Hall of Famers and what not, Jordan was the greatest of his era, Pippen was a great defender, Barkley, Patrick Ewing, Michael Jordan and David Robinson were beasts inside the paint. Without a doubt, all the boys on that team could play. But people under-estimate the 2012 team because they almost have no post presence and no Jordan. But what they do have is superior athleticism and skill.

Russell Westbrook might be the most athletic freak-of-nature point guard who has ever stepped foot on an NBA floor. LeBron James is a human freight-train, being 6’8 and 250 pounds. Carmelo Anthony has one of the best mid-range games the NBA has seen in some time. Kevin Durant is 6’10 and can stroke three-pointers with ease. Chris Paul is a nasty defender and Deron Williams is a bull of a point guard. Kevin Love, when given a chance, can rebound with the best players in the world. Tyson Chandler and James Harden might be the only “weak” links on this team. And Anthony Davis is 10x the player that Christian Laettner was at the time and Andre Iguodala is a nice defensive stopper. And who could forget the “Black Mamba” Kobe Bryant. 

The only thing the ‘Dream Team’ has on this team is size and the so-called “Jordan Factor”. But I think the athleticism and strength of the backcourt players on the 2012 team would be too much for the ’92 team. The point guards are much more athletic, stronger, quicker, and bigger than back-in-the-day. Do you think it would be easy for John Stockton to get the ball up the floor against Paul, Westbrook, or Williams? I think he would have an extremely difficult time getting the ’92 team in its offense. They would wear-out Magic Johnson, who was recently diagnosed with the HIV virus prior to the 1992 Summer Games.

Let me throw out some scenarios now.

Let’s say the 2012 team goes with this lineup: Paul, Westbrook, James, Anthony, and Durant.

The 1992 team counters with: Magic Johnson, Jordan, Pippen, Malone, and Robinson or Ewing.

Who is Pippen going to guard? LeBron? Anthony? Durant? That’s where the match-up problems start for the ’92 team. If Jordan and Pippen guard Anthony and James or James and Durant, that will leave either Durant or Anthony against a power forward. And sorry, but there is no way a 29-year old Karl Malone is guarding a 23-year old Kevin Durant or 28-year old Carmelo Anthony. Malone couldn’t guard Anthony if Anthony was 35 and Malone was 25. The 2012 team has the ability to force turnovers and score in transition with little or no contest. Yes, the 1992 team would turn the ball over against this type of pressure. They are not immortal. And take into account that the international competition back in 1992 was chicken feed compared to the international competition today. 

I understand that a lot of people believe Jordan is the greatest player to ever play basketball and that he would be the difference in the 1992 winning. That’s false because basketball has never been an individual’s game. Why do you think Jordan never won a title until Pippen and Horace Grant came along and James never won a title until he teamed with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh? Jordan could never get past those great Boston Celtic teams because he was all the Chicago Bulls had at the time and it wasn’t good enough. 

But let’s get back to the “never-going-to-happen but it’s-sweet-to-think-about” matchup between the 1992 team and 2012 team.

Players who would be ineffective due to matchup problems are: Stockton, Chris Mullin, Larry Bird and Laettner; Harden and Davis. So if you take those players out you are left with the following rosters: Johnson, Jordan, Clyde Drexler, Pippen, Ewing, Malone, Robinson, and Barkley; James, Bryant, Love, Williams, Westbrook, Paul, Durant, Anthony, Chandler, and Andre Igoudala.

The 2012 team has quickness, athleticism, and pure-scoring ability over the 1992 team. On the other hand, the 1992 team has size and strength over the 2012 team. But here is an interesting fact I discovered on my own: 1992 Olympic Team’s average height and weight: 6.675 ft and 222.91 lb; 2012 Olympic Team: 6.56 ft and 220.5 lb. So, there really isn’t much of a difference between the size of the two teams and this year’s team only has one seven-footer, too (Tyson Chandler). But what would the 1992 team do with all their size? Provided the 2012 team can pressure their point guards, their size would be useless. Yes, I said “use-less”. 

The NBA is in a better place today because of the amount of superstars and stars in the game. Every player, except for Davis, Harden, Chandler and Iguodala, are superstars in the game or stars and are the best player or one of the best players on their teams. Don’t forget, D-Rose, Dwyane Wade, Dwight Howard, LaMarcus Aldridge, Blake Griffin, and Chris Bosh aren’t on this team. Other players such as Andrew Bynum, Rajon Rondo, Rudy Gay, Eric Gordon, and Roy Hibbert could be on this team as well. 

The ‘Dream Team’ may have 11 Hall-of-Famers, but who is to say that most of the players on the 2012 team won’t be in the Hall some day? Magic and Bird were the only “sure-fire” HOF-ers on the team at the time of the Olympics. Jordan’s HOF status was just as clear as LeBron’s is now. Kobe will be a first-ballot HOF-er and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Paul, Durant, and James join him as soon as their careers are done. Westbrook, Williams and Anthony have a good chance of ending up in the Hall of Fame, too. Anthony Davis’ chances of ending up in the Hall of Fame are incredibly better than Laettner’s were.

In the end, the 2012 team has too much athleticism and quickness for the 1992 team. The scorers today are much more creative in how they go about scoring from the perimeter and inside. You’d better be able to elevate over guys in today’s game, otherwise you will get your shot blocked. And for the 1992 players saying that only a few of the players on the 2012 team would make the 1992 roster, they know that’s a bunch of you-know-what. James, Bryant, Durant, Paul, Anthony, and Westbrook would be on the 1992 team. That’s half the team right there. You can substitute Davis for Laettner, giving them seven players.

One last interesting fact: Chuck Daly never called a timeout during the entirety of the Olympics. I guarantee you it wouldn’t be like that if these two teams matched-up today.


  1. You must be one out of the 6 people who actually believe the 2012 Olympic team would best the 1992 Dream Team. There’s only one team that is actually “Dreaming” here. And I think you know which team that is…the 1992 Dream Team records are etched in stone. Everything in your post is hardly a fact, it is simply fantasy talk. Enough said.

  2. What are you smoking?

  3. Jarrod Peterson says

    It’s obvious you haven’t watched basketball since Jordan retired. Kobe Bryant is better than anybody on that team except Jordan. LeBron is better than anyone on that team except Jordan. Durant is a better scorer than anyone on that team, including Jordan.

  4. Jarrod Peterson says

    The Charlotte Bobcats had more talent than the teams the ‘Dream Team’ played. Give me a break. They played a bunch of countries that had extremely poor talent.

  5. It’s is extremely difficult to compare competitors of different eras in any sport, based on the fact that the athlete has evolved over time. That being said the 2012 US team does have a major advantage in athleticism. So in getting up and down the floor they do edge the Dream Team. The dream team has a much better collection of perimeter shooters. The best shooters on the ’12 team are: in no particular order, Anthony, Durant, Williams, Bryant, and Paul, . Up against: Bird, Malone, Barkley, Mullin, and maybe Jordan (who at the time hadn’t fully developed his perimeter game) or Stockton (an extremely underrated and competent perimeter shooter) 92 team has a better collection of shooters, edging out the ’12 team with Bird leading the way. So if it comes down to trading 2s for 3s….the Dream Team takes this aspect of it. In the trenches down in the post, the Dream Team completely annihilates the ’12 squad with Tyson Chandler and Kevin Love, hell, throw in a healthy D. Howard, plus Bosh, and the Dream Team, still, literally manhandles them with Ewing, Robinson, Malone, and Barkley. The only offensive threats ’12 has in the post scoring are Bosh, who Robinson should stifle, and Love who Malone or Barkley could at least contain. Chandler and Howard are purely defenders and are non-existent offensively in this scenario. Not to mention Ewing would be able to get off, with ease, a turnaround baseline jumper, which is good from 18ft in, over either of those two… In any event, the Dream Team takes this battle on both the offensive and defensive ends. Too many mismatches in the post that favor the 92 Dream Team. This dream scenario would come down to intangibles. How would the ’12 team deal with the ’92 team’s superior presence down low, versus how the Dream Team with the ’12 team’s overwhelmingly superior athleticism? The 92 team’s best athletes would have been: Jordan, Pippen, and Robinson. Against the ’12 team’s: James, Westbrook, Iguadwala, or Durant, I would have Bryant here, but even if here were healthy he is definitely past his physical prime. Even though ’92 trio is extremely formidable athletically (not to mention, at this stage of his career, Jordan relied heavily on his physical abilities) the ’12 squad gets the nod, due in part largely to my previous point that over time the athlete improves. I think that this game would come down to intangibles such as coaching, and here, in any situation, Chuck Daly owns Coach K. A grown man in Daly, who coaches grown men and garners their respect, versus a grown man, in Coach K, who coaches boys and transitions to grown ass men once every four years? 92 Dream takes this by ten, due in part largely to clutch perimeter play, superior free throw shooting, (LEBRON!!!) and dominant play in the post. Any questions?……..Didn’t think so……and you’re welcome!

  6. Jarrod Peterson says

    If Coach K really wanted to, he could coach in the pros. Anybody who plays the game of basketball respects Coach K 100%. He doesn’t have to demand respect from “grown” men, because they already respect him. He is one of the greatest coaches to ever coach basketball. Chuck Daly is a good coach, but benefited from having great talent in Detroit (Isaiah Thomas and Joe Dumars). But he doesn’t come close to Coach K or his resume. The coaching edge would go to the 2012 team. I respect all of your other points though.

  7. Forgot about Drexler in Dream Team’s most athletic.

  8. Lemme tell you you cant help but to respect my other points cause they are all valid. Now as far as Coach K versus Daly. Are you serious…? A coach any coach for that matter is only as good as his players. You mean to tell me if Coack were an NBA coach he would have similar success? Remember Rick Pitino with the Knicks? Larry Brown is the sole exception to the rule, but once again a coach from Phil Jackson to George Karl is only as good as his players. That being said if Coach K is that good with all that talent that comes thru Durham he should be another John Wooden!! The ’99 team, the ’02 team, the ’06 one with fluke ass Reddick! National player of the year my ass!! Yes Daly benefited from Isaiah Thomas and Dumars, but college coaches can actively go out and recruit there talent!!! Pro coaches can’t, who do you think has the better situation? Did you ever hear about Kobe tryin to get Coack K to come to LA & Shaq sayin how he really had to get the hell out after hearing that news? I wouldn’t necessarily call that respect would you? C’mon man Coach K is just as shady as any other coach in the NCAA, Pitino, Knight, Cal,…they just portray him in a positive light cause it’s DUKE…

  9. thisdebateisnotgood says

    @jarrod I dont want to comment here.
    But your comment of durant is a better scorer than jordan makes me
    Need you to tell this.

    What is the average ppg of durant? 30 ppg

    Jordan is a ten time scoring champ including average of 37ppg

    Can you imagine how far is 37 to 30.

    I dont want to compare this two teams, but what i want is for us to
    Respect both teams, especially the DT 92. And one thing is for sure,
    Like mj said “they learned from us, we didnt learned from them”.

    So please, yes this generation is improving but they learned from the best.

  10. Jarrod Peterson says

    I understand that Jordan won 10 scoring titles. But Durant isn’t even 24 and already has three, in a row might I add. I think Durant could and would score 40 points every night if he wasn’t playing with Russell Westbrook, who shoots just as much if not more than Durant, and James Harden (even though I don’t mind Harden shooting). Jordan never played with a player of Westbrook’s talent and, to a point, selfishness. He takes a lot of terrible shots and, shots in general, away from Durant. I think when we look back in 15 years at Durant’s career, we might say he was the greatest scorer to ever play basketball. Legitimately, Durant could win the scoring title every year until he is in his mid-30’s.

  11. what the hell you guys call athleticism???

    is lebron more athletic than jordan because his muscles are bigger???

    and what the hell does it have to do with basketball???

    stop talking this B.S.

  12. i am sorry but i think today,the fans know more basketball than the journalists.

    and the problem is you educate the younger fans…players today lacks basketball abilities.they don’t play defense compare to the players from the 80’s and 90’s,the can’t shoot the ball(outside of durant),they don’t play with the same intensity anymore(that’s why byron scott said 2 years ago that “the lack of effort in the nba today is scary),they have the advantage of the new rules that allow them to put big numbers,they can’t collectively like the teams from the past…let it go.
    the only thing they have is that they look more like jordan because they copied his style…that’s about it.

    by the way,yes they were all HOFamers guarantee at that time and please don’t mention lebron’s name in the same sentence with jordan.

    even kobe let it go and said : i know they were much better,but we still could have one at least one game…” let it go man…you guys are so arrogant,you think you can decide everything about the perception of the public.you think you “made” jordan,you may have “made” kobe or even more lebron but not jordan,not bird,not magic.

  13. Jarrod Peterson says

    Players lack effort? So Kevin Love lacks effort? Kevin Durant lacks effort? Uh, LeBron lacks effort? Kobe lacks effort? Carmelo lacks effort? Chris Paul? That’s a joke. The Michael Beasley’s and O.J. Mayo’s of the world LACK EFFORT. But don’t you dare say that the greatest players in the world lack effort in today’s game. That’s just disrespectful. Don’t say that anyone on this USA team lacks effort, otherwise they wouldn’t be here. And people do need to be educated here because these players on this team are no joke. Almost half of this team is under the age of 25 and are wiping the floor with teams. And yes, I guess you were right. Scottie Pippen was a HOF-er five years into his career and David Robinson was a HOF-er at the age of 26. You’re right, I am wrong. That means LeBron was a HOF-er at 18.

  14. Hard to argue with people that don’t care for facts-
    Jarrod will admit that game is now easier to score with a closer 3 line, less defense minded players, no handchecking, and more frequent and softer foul calls admittedly instituted by Stern to protect players.
    On the same hand can call Durant @ 24 (5 yr pro) with a career scoring average of 26.3
    is a better scorer than jordan with an average of 31.8 ppg average at the 5 yr mark?
    Despite the game being easier and Durant averaging 8.5 of his points from the FT line. vs. MJ averageing 4.
    The sad part his he will read this and say oh but westbrook is taking all the points or something silly like that to make up for the massive gap.
    A dominant scorer demands the ball not defer to the lesser player. Let Durant get a voice before you put him against the GOAT.
    With easier rules Jordans points would be like 45 a game. Then you talk about atheletes, what is that going to change? The game is soft, these Stronger Looking athletes are in fact a lot softer constantly taking plays off to complain to the refs about pitty pat fouls.

    They are faster but are we really going to act like player back they never went against players equally fast. Dominque – melo
    horry, schempf petrovic, webber, garnett, lattner, etc – durant, cp- spub webb, blaylock, bogues etc.

    LBJ is the only size and speed DT has never played against and Magic is the height and size although was pretty slow by 1992.

    But LBJ can be lock down with a zone and by drawning charges, that’s if the moment alone doesn’t freeze him.

    I just don’t see how anyone who watched both teams can say this… oh maybe you haven’t

  15. marion is not as fast a LBJ that didn’t stop him from locking him down in the 2011 or Bruce Bowen in the 2007 finals or Pierce in the 2009 eastern conference Finals or the collective pistons in his first playoff series against them.
    Most people don’t know this but in every series he’s been eliminated (6 times)- with exception of ECF against Orlando that it was him who caused it. Averaging 32% in the fourth quarters of every series he’s been eliminated. Even worst averaing only 40% shooting for the games of those series while his team -(cavs and heat) which supposedly held him back shot an average of 48.5% as a team with his low shooting contirbution over 50% without him. one year the cavs lost to the pistons LB shot 40% for the series including under 35% in two games while his team shot over 52% for the entire series. He left the Cavs but when you look at the numbers they lost because of him. LBJ is so important to a team that he is the reason you win and the reason you lose. Unlike MJ who got it in both in the wins and loses.

  16. Jarrod Peterson says

    I think yesterday’s game proves my point. Enough said.

  17. First of all The 1992 Dream Team had 11 Hall OF famers, 23 champ rings and with kobe 5 and LeBron 1 they Tie Jordans six. lol thats funny they should talk trash when they reach the hall of fame or at least half of them get more rings enough said on that. But on the real dream teams challgers back in the day. they were the challage because some them didnt really like each other most of them were NBA ring holders.Each of them thouht they were the best. Today we know Kobe and LeBorn, my opinion 2008 had a better squad just my opinion.

  18. anthony wmith says

    I totally agreed with the writer. People fell in love with the monument an era.. But evolution applies to everything in that was 20 years ago these guys are much better now..

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