Kobe Bryant is a five time NBA Champion. He is also considered to be the last of the dying breed when thinking about the type of players that played on that 92 Dream Team. The thing that separates Kobe Bryant from the rest of the current NBA roster is ironically the thing that makes the Dream Team better than the current team. Yes, this team is much more athletic and maybe even more skilled. Of course, guys like Russell Westbrook would run circles around John Stockton, but wouldn’t you rather have John Stockton on your team? There is a certain level of greatness that almost each player on the Dream Team possessed that is hard to find in today’s NBA.
The Dream Team was filled with guys who have the killer mentality that most of the current NBA lack, except for Kobe Bryant. He was cut from the same exact cloth as guys like Magic, Bird, and Michael Jordan. This is why he has been able to earn 5 championships.
It’s why we have witnessed so many clutch moments in big games, why we see his face change in the 4th quarter, why we know him as the Black Mamba, and why it is acceptable for him to believe that the current team can beat the Dream Team. If you combine the athleticism and talent that the current team has with the intangibles of Kobe Bryant then we have ourselves a ball game.
Then LeBron rides Kobe’s coat tails and opens his mouth two weeks later sort of saying the same thing, but not exactly. Let’s take a look at the difference between the two quotes.
When asked if the current team can beat the dream team, Kobe Bryant said, “It’d be a tough one, but I think we’d pull it out.”
LeBron was asked the same question and stated, “People who think we can’t beat that team for one game, they are crazy. To sit there and say we can’t, it’s ludicrous. We can beat them one time. The ’92 Dream Team paved the way for all of us… We understand what they did for our game, but we also are big-time competitors as well, so if we got the opportunity to play them in a game we feel like we would win too.”
Can you tell the difference here? LeBron’s comments shouldn’t even be a headline and the Dream Team should be laughing this one off. The comparison was much more respectable from a 5 time champion, who also competed with some of the members of the Dream Team.
Remember that alley-oop pass from Kobe to Shaq in that memorable game 7 against the Portland Trail Blazers? Who was guarding Kobe during that play? Dream Team member, Scottie Pippen. The comparison of the current team to the Dream Team hardly has the same effect coming from a guy, who is widely known for disappearing in clutch moments and joining forces with two other top 10 players to make life easier for him.
The 2008 Team USA won the gold medal largely because of Kobe’s greatness. He stepped up in clutch moments, especially in the gold medal game against Spain, as if he was in a Laker uniform. The ability to constantly put on these types of performances that define greatness for over a decade is why only Kobe can compare the 2012 Team to the Dream Team.
The other players should probably keep their mouth shut and continue to combine their athleticism with Kobe’s intangibles, in order to bring a gold medal home to the USA this year.