It's your classic barstool debate. Which Olympic basketball team is better: The famed 1992 "Dream Team" or this year's Olympic team? Kobe Bryant recently stirred the proverbial pot after he nonchalantly mentioned that the 2012's team could beat the "Dream Team."
"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 told Yahoo Sports. "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.
"It'd be a tough one, but I think we'd pull it out," he said.
Ouch! So, the gauntlet has been thrown. When word got back to Michael Jordan and some members of the original "Dream Team" -- you know -- the team that had 11 future Hall of Famers and won its six Olympic games by an average of 43 points on its way to a gold medal, they laughed away Bryant's comments.
"For him to compare those two teams is not one of the smarter things he ever could have done," Michael Jordan said.
TNT analyst Charles Barkley even took the trash talk a step further, brushing away concerns about the age of the "Dream Team."
“How old is Kobe Bryant? He’s 34? And he’s calling us old? At the time, we were only like 28, 29. Michael Jordan and me were the same age. We were both 29," Barkley said. "Other than Kobe, LeBron (James) and Kevin Durant, I don't think anybody else on [the 2012] team makes our team," he said.
Oh snap! It's on like Donkey Kong. Which Olympic team is better: 1992 or 2012? Unfortunately, we don't have a time machine like Mr. Peabody and Sherman, but let's try to figure it out, based on their age and ability at the time.
Better Point Guard: Magic Johnson was coming back from his retirement when he left basketball after telling the world he contracted HIV. He is one of the world's best point guards, but he wasn't as young. John Stockton, the NBA's all-time assist leader, wasn't any slouch either. This year's crop of Chris Paul, Deron Williams and Russell Westbrook are young, fast and athletic. Got to give them the nod!
Better Shooting Guard: Wow! Michael Jordan vs. Kobe Bryant. No, it's not a video game, but it would have been great to see each of these guys compete. They battled on the NBA hardwood, but Jordan had already passed his prime. Still, Give me Jordan at age 29 vs. Kobe at age 33.
Better Small Forward: This matchup would feature some of the league's best sharpshooters: Larry Bird and Scottie Pippen vs. LeBron James and Kevin Durant. Bird was on the decline when he appeared on the Olympic team. James and Durant, two of the league's best stars right now, are just starting their ascent.
Better Power Forward: Would you want to be in the way of Karl Malone or Charles Barkley as they went down the lane? I didn't think so. That alone is reason enough that the 1992 team would be better? Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Love and Andre Iguodala are nice, but from a pure power standpoint, give me the 1992 team.
Better Center: Ewing and Robinson both participated in Olympic competition before becoming members of the Dream Team. They also fit the bill of being a true center. This year's team... eh, not so much. It has Tyson Chandler and Anthony Davis, the No. 1 pick in this year's draft. Both are great athletes, but nothing like Ewing and Robinson.
There you have it! In this unscientific matchup, sorry, Kobe! You need to respect your elders -- the 1992 Dream Team! So, HLN readers, what do you think? Who ya got?