Posted by Sekou Smith
HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — A call came into the HT hotline this afternoon on what should be the hottest topic of the weekend — the 2010 Hall of Fame induction ceremonies going on in Springfield, Mass.
“The original Dream Team is the best basketball team ever assembled, right?’ the caller said. “Surely, you don’t think any other incarnation could handle them do you?”
The easy answer should have been “of course.”
Any team with Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Charles Barkley, Scottie Pippen, Karl Malone, John Stockton, David Robinson and Patrick Ewing as its headliners would have to get the nod, right?
As the caller would clarify moments later, not exactly.
She wasn’t interested in the names so much as she was the games, as in what state was each of those legends’ game in during the time they played together and could they outdistance any other group — Olympic or otherwise — for the title of greatest team ever assembled?
That little wrinkle caused me to think it over a little more before posing the question to all of you.
Do you think the 1992 U.S. Olympic team was the greatest compilation of basketball talent to grace the floor or could some other group, say one of its subsequent reincarnations or even a team before it, lay claim to the title?
I’m having a really hard time finding another squad that can give them a run (the caller, showing her age, suggested that the 2008 U.S. Olympic (Redeem) team — the Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Dwight Howard, Chris Paul, Jason Kidd, Deron Williams-led bunch would have given the OG’s fits).
Uh, I’d pay for a ticket to that game. But I don’t know if I see the 2008 group besting the true Dream Team.
What about the 1996 crew? Barkley, Pippen, Malone, Stockton and Robinson stuck around and were joined by Gary Payton, Penny Hardaway, Grant Hill, Reggie Miller, Hakeem Olajuwon and a monstrous, young Shaquille O’Neal (who should have been on the original team as a collegian over Christian Laettner).
And there was also that 2000 team to consider. GP was joined by a brand new cast that included Steve Smith, Vince Carter, Tim Hardaway, Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, Kidd, Antonio McDyess, Alonzo Mourning, Vin Baker, Allan Houston and Shareef Abdur-Rahim.
Let’s leave the 2004 team off the list since they had to scrap to get a bronze medal in Athens.
What say you?
(And feel free to include any team ever assembled. But just so you know, we’re going with the greatest player ever, the bald cat below, on the greatest team ever assembled.)