Once Again,the Basketball Media Shoots an Airball-Dream Team Comparisons are Ridiculous

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By: Akiem Balium- Host of 10 Minutes on the Clock on The Real Sports Talk Network, and Blogger for TRST’s the Sports Realist. Follow Akiem on Twitter @Li495Akiem

The basketball that the press shot didn’t even graze the rim.

We’re only 2 weeks away from the Opening Ceremonies of the 2012 Olympics in London. Of course, USA’s men’s basketball team will be in the UK as the defending gold medal champions. They are bringing back 5 players from the team that was able to deliver gold for the red, white, and blue at the 2008 Games in Beijing—Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Deron Williams, Chris Paul, and Carmelo Anthony.

They also have a host of new characters including Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Tyson Chandler, Andre Iguodala, Kevin Love, and Anthony Davis.

Davis was just recently added to the team after news broke late that Blake Griffin hadtorn his meniscus in a practice session for Team USA before they were set to face the Dominican Republic’s national team in an exhibition in Las Vegas. He was flown back from Vegas to Los Angeles at the LA Clippers’ training facilities.Team USA immediately summoned Davis to Sin City—that alone told you that USA Basketball was not optimistic at all about this.

Griffin won’t be flying across the pond to London, but he is expected to be ready for theClippers’ training camp. It’s a shame in his case since his high-octane style would’ve fit in well with how Team USA loves to play. They love to createhighlight reel plays, especially against teams that they know they’ll run out of the gym by 50.

Griffin joins Dwight Howard, Derrick Rose, Chris Bosh, and Dwyane Wade on the shelf forthe Stars & Stripes’ effort in London.

And even with the injuries to all of those players—the media is still shooting an airball by comparing this team to the original 1992 Dream Team. That team, of course, blew out everyone else out of the water @ those Olympics in Barcelona. Some people regard the USA as having fielded 3 “Dream Teams”—1992 in Barcelona, 1996 in Atlanta, and 2000 in Sydney.

USA Hoops put up a disappointing bronze medal effort at the 2004 Olympics in Athens.Those Games included reports that 3 players on that team—Allen Iverson, Amare Stoudemire, & LeBron James not showing up for practices. Then came the 2008“Redeem Team” led by Kobe Bryant which reestablished Team USA as the premiere hoops team in the world.

Once again,ESPN tries to create a story where there isn’t any. It’s not the first timethey’ve done it and it won’t be the last time they do it—it is how they get ratings for their TV & radio shows. It’s very great that they have theexhibition games as well as the Olympics themselves in order for them to milk this non-story even more….

…..uh, Oops.NBC signed an extension to continue to broadcast the Games last year until the year 2020. Nice try, ESPN (whose bid stunk by the way)….

Even with the injuries to the premier players listed above, the media is still asking the ridiculous question of how this team stacks up against the ’92 team.

It’s one thing to maybe ask it once or twice for the sake of filler. It’s another thingto run with something like this & milk it. ESPN & others in the media have run with this as if they were going to London to compete in either thetrack and field events or the marathon.

Unfortunately,Kobe Bryant took the bait that the media was offering. He said that this team could beat the 1992 Dream Team. As a result, ESPN & friends are now reiterating this story in overdrive even though there’s a chance that Kobe wassimply trying to motivate the team.

Most people(even those on this team, perhaps) know that the team that included Michael Jordan, Karl Malone, John Stockton, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, & Charles Barkley among others is something that has a very great chance of never beingduplicated again.

Charles Barkley went on Greater Media’s WPEN-FM 97.5 the Fanatic in Philadelphia &said that only 3 players from the 2012 class would be on that ’92 squad—Kobe, LeBron, & Durant. He may be right, but again, he took bait that the media was offering. Michael Jordan did so as well by scoffing at the thought that Team USA 2012 could beat the Dream Team.

The best response to all of the absurd Team USA 2012/Dream Team rubbish came from Larry Bird. Bird was comically deciding to live in the now instead of holding this team up to the unfair lofty standards produced by the Dream Team:

“They probably could. I haven’t played in 20 years and we’re all old now.”

Brilliant. It was tongue-in-cheek & that’s what made it brilliant.

I, presumably like most backers of Team USA could care less if this team could beat the 1992 Dream Team. Let’s see them win Gold first in London before we compare them to any of the previous USA squads that triumphed at the Games.

But, it’s not the “sexy” story for some pundits in the media, so they’ll find something else. It’s the same thing as the ridiculous fetish that some in the press have when it comes to comparing Michael Jordan & LeBron James. MJ retired with 6 rings and likely is the greatest basketball player of all time. King James just won his first NBA crown this year & is in the process of writing his Hallof Fame legacy.

This serves as a classic example of a media that has little to nothing to talk about & is trying to create a story out of thin air. I was taught once in a journalism class in the 10th grade that one of the things you never do in the media is become the news or create news where there is none. Apparently, some in the basketball press must’ve forgotten what their teachers told them in journalism class while they were flirting with their classmate crush.

This 2012 team is not The Dream Team—most people know that. This 2012 team should not try to be The Dream Team because those expectations are too lofty. If anything,comparisons to the 2008 team are the only ones that are fair because that’s the team that made this cast of characters the defending gold medal champions. I have no problem comparing the 2008 team to this team. 5 players that were on that team are returning for this team & that number would be higher if it weren’t for the NBA-related injuries they sustained & endured.

And, many of the players that were on that 1992 team are now in the Hall of Fame. Who knows in 20 years what will be the legacy of the men on this squad? Maybe, then we can start fantasizing about which team could beat which team.

As interesting as it would be to compare “The 1992 Dream Team” to the 2012 Team, really there isn’t much of a comparison.

I’m sure the game makers at 2K Sports or NBA Live are already working on an option that doesindeed pit the Dream Team vs. this 2012 Olympics team. It’d be on either NBA Live 2013 or NBA 2K14. If I remember correctly, NBA Live uses TNT announcersand 2K Sports uses ESPN’s. It may be fitting either way.

But in reality sports, here are some teams I’d like to see Team USA defeat this year:Lithuania, Brazil, & Spain.

Posted on July 13, 2012, in NBA and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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