Posts Tagged ‘Dream Team’

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LONDON – With the opening ceremonies of the 2012 Olympics still hours away and the torch relay making its way through the streets of this grand old city, there is still time for the U.S. Men’s Senior National Team to take one last breath before the competition begins Sunday against France.

They ran through their pre-Olympic exhibition schedule like you might expect the loaded, defending gold medalists would — the 5-0 record and 27-point average margin of victory have to impress even the biggest skeptics.

You can take whatever side you want in the Dream Team vs. This Team debate, and Naismith knows everyone who cares at all about the game has weighed in at one time or another in the past few weeks. The fact remains that this is easily the strongest international contingent of talent a U.S. Olympic team will have to face.

There are six other current or former NBA All-Stars in the competition here — Spain boasts two (Pau and Marc Gasol), with Argentina (Manu Ginobili), France (Tony Parker) and Russia (Andrei Kirilenko) each boasting one of their own.

Twenty years ago, the Dream Team faced just five active NBA players on their way to gold (eight other players in that competition had played or would go on to play in the NBA).

The debate will have to wait anyway, since the current team has to first claim a gold of their own. And they’ll be tested by teams like Spain, Argentina, Russia and Brazil, all of which possess more frontcourt size than the U.S. Team has.

No team, though, can go down the bench and find NBA All-Stars nine-deep; Tyson Chandler is the reigning Defensive Player of the Year, James Harden is the reigning Sixth Man of the Year and the 12th man, Anthony Davis, was the No. 1 overall pick in last month’s Draft.

The other decided advantage this current team has over its predecessors is a chemistry and cohesion born out of USA Basketball’s structure since Jerry Colangelo took over as managing director of the program and Mike Krzyzewski assumed the coaching mantle after a dismal showing in the 2004 Olympics in Athens.

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USA Basketball: Dream Team Vs This Team … Who Wins Clash Of Titans?





LAS VEGAS – The question has been raised during each and every Olympic year since the original Dream Team took the world by storm 20 years ago.

So no one should be surprised that it’s come up here during the USA Basketball training camp and that this team’s elder statements and competitor extraordinaire Kobe Bryant would have a diplomatic response when asked how this current team would fare against the originators.

“Well, just from a basketball standpoint, they obviously have a lot more size than we do — you know, with [David] Robinson and [Patrick] Ewing and [Karl] Malone and those guys,” Bryant said. “But they were also — some of those wing players — were also a lot older, at kind of the end of their careers. We have just a bunch of young racehorses, guys that are eager to compete … So I don’t know. It’d be a tough one, but I think we’d pull it out.”

Of course, he does. When has Bryant ever been on a team that he didn’t believe would beat back all challengers?

It would have been supremely disappointing if he said anything else.

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Another Legend Slams James

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Posted by Sekou Smith

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – Even when he isn’t “the story” LeBron James finds his way into the headlines these days.

Thursday’s World Basketball Festival showcase put on by USA Basketball at Radio City Music Hall somehow devolved into yet another situation by the end of the night, and he didn’t even say a word this time.

This after a day of hearing about TNT’s own Charles Barkley calling the move to unite on the same team by James and his new Miami Heat teammates Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh a “punk move.”

And with Chicago Bulls legend Scottie Pippen heading into the Hall of Fame this weekend, there have been comparisons to the games of both Pippen and James, versatile, do-it-all types that were and are capable of jaw-dropping feats on the court that few others have been or are capable of duplicating.

And now that James is teamed up with Wade, it’s like the New Millennium version of Michael Jordan and Pippen all over again …

Well, not exactly, per some other members of those storied Bulls teams.

Pippen’s one-time Bulls teammate, Dennis Rodman, doesn’t want to hear any of that, as he explained to Adam Fluck of Bulls.com:

“People talk about LeBron,” said Rodman. “You’ve got to understand, LeBron has no business even being in the same conversation with Scottie. Scottie was the epitome of the (do it all elite player). What do you want me to say? Scottie was great.”

Just as so many of his other teammates have regularly done, Rodman was only following suit for the player who garnered so much respect throughout his 17 season career and will enter basketball’s Hall of Fame Friday in Springfield, Mass.

“Scottie was supportive. Michael was like his big brother and I came in as the black sheep of the family,” Rodman said of his Chicago arrival in 1995. “I did my wild thing, but it was cool and we kept it together. Scottie was right in the middle of that team and he supported us all.”

Guess that means we can add Rodman to that list James is putting together of all of his “haters.”

He’s going to need a few extra pages to finish that list, by the way. Because the legends of the game seem to be tripping over each other to get on it.

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