Will there ever be "the next" Michael Jordan? In my opinion, no; and I explained why in an earlier blog post. But is a better dream team in our future? That's now a reality.
I'll pause for a momentary gasp.
I'm rolling the proverbial dice by taking this year's Team USA over the legendary squad that dished out 11 Hall of Famers and won six games by an average of 43 points.
Why? For the exact same reasons Kobe Bryant told the media: This year's team is younger, more athletic and in its prime.
Granted, that sentiment seems a bit hypocritical considering Bryant is 33-years-old. But he's a veteran leader of a team that's a solid three years younger than the Dream Team's average age of 29.
Obviously, age isn't a stat that wins you games. However, it's no secret that peak athletic performance often correlates with age (or maybe I'm still drinking the Oklahoma City Thunder koolaid). They might not have won a title, but the trio of Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden could outrun anyone down the court.
Of course, you can't make a near-blasphemous claim to some without consulting the King of the fade-away jump shot. No, not the King, as the young generation knows it. I'm talking about the man whose two initials forever changed the game: Michael Jordan.
Jordan told the Associated Press he, "absolutely laughed" at Bryant's comments. He also said, "for him to compare those two teams is not one of the smarter things he ever could have done." He reportedly held the conversation on a golf cart while smoking a cigar. Fittingly, Jordan still embodies swagger well into his retirement.
Sure, the 2012 team is lacking the big men of '92, and as Jordan aptly put, "the wisdom." But, with the dominance of LeBron James in his prime; the effervescent shot creation of Kevin Durant, and the crafty pass creation of Chris Paul, it'd be a hard-fought game and one in which 2012 has the chance to rewind the clock.
However, if you look deeper into these comments the competition isn't between two teams, but rather two players. Perhaps, Bryant stopped trying to meet the bar set by Jordan.
Perhaps he's setting the bar.