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Is This Team As Good As the 1992 ‘Dream Team’?

After the unbelievable global spectacle of the first Dream Team at the 1992 Olympics, the U.S. might have assembled Dream Team 2 this year, with stars like LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant, Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and Carmelo Anthony all competing on the same team.

The first Dream Team was something the world had never seen before, the biggest stars on the biggest stage. When the United States decided to allow professional basketball players to compete in the 1992 Olympics (after the U.S. finished a disappointing third in 1988), the NBA—which was at first reluctant to supply players—soon realized what it had on its hands: a chance to put together the greatest collection of basketball talent the world had ever seen. So the “Dream Team” was born, with stars like Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Patrick Ewing, Scottie Pippen, Karl Malone, John Stockton, Charles Barkley and Clyde Drexler all playing together, most of them near the height of their powers. They beat their world opponents by an average of 44 points and trounced Croatia for a gold medal. It is a team that is still being talked about, with documentaries still being made chronicling the historic nature of that squad.

So are we now at Dream Team 2? Is this squad as good as that one? If we had a time travel machine and the two teams had occasion to play each other, who would win? Who would guard Jordan (maybe Kobe?), who would guard LeBron (maybe Barkley, or Malone?), could Tyson Chandler stop Ewing or David Robinson? (We’re thinking No.) The match-up possibilities are fascinating.

Earlier this summer officials at USA Basketball released its list of 20 NBA all-stars who may be given the opportunity to represent our country in the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London. Head officials Jerry Colangelo and head coach Mike Krzyzewski were faced with the tough task of trimming this amazing bunch of talent down to 12 players by June 18th.

Injuries to Derrick Rose, Dwight Howard, Chauncey Billups, and LaMarcus Aldridge during the NBA season made this decision a lot harder, as these were four players who were likely to make the final roster. The Olympic committee granted the U.S.’s request for an extension on finalizing their roster for the games.

Over the weekend USA Basketball finally released its final roster, and despite injuries this team still looks poised to dominate this year’s Olympic games. Team USA has been comprised of some of the most versatile and athletic players on the planet, which will make this team something to watch.

The guards include Kobe Bryant, Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Russell Westbrook, and finally James Harden, who was added to the pool after the injury to guard Derrick Rose. The forwards are lead by finals MVP Lebron James, scoring champion Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Love, Blake Griffin and Andre Iguodala. Tyson Chandler is the only center selected for the team, as Team USA went with more athletic small power forwards who will take advantage of the FIBA rules used in Olympic play.

The Summer Olympics will kick off July 27, 2012.

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