The question hangs over this year’s Olympic Basketball team like a stagnant cloud. Despite attempts to focus on the upcoming opponents and the gold medal, we just can’t get away from the constant wondering. Kobe Bryant started it all just over two weeks ago when he boasted that this current USA Basketball Team could beat the original Dream Team from 1992. The debate has lingered on and has led to players like Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, and even Marc Gasol chiming in, because someone cares what Marc Gasol thinks, apparently.
The disappointing thing for the world is that we’ll never know just who would win if the teams got together… UNTIL TODAY. That’s right, WAD was given exclusive access to the secret game between the 1992 Dream Team, and the 2012 USA Olympic Team. Thankfully I kept a running diary so it’s *almost* like you were right there to see it with me.
An important point: This wasn’t the 1992 Team as they are now vs. the 2012 Team. This game featured both teams in their prime, and hoo boy, it was a doozy. How did we get the original Dream Team in their prime? I don’t know, and stop asking so many questions. Just read on.
An unfortunate moment here as James Harden hurts himself hustling to catch the hot pretzel vender as he heads to the upper level. Looks like he’s out for today.
The two teams have to be separated at mid-court as words are exchanged. Tyson Chandler is particularly active, calling Patrick Ewing, “Fatrick”. Ewing is HEATED.
’92 goes with Magic, Jordan, Bird, Barkley, and Ewing.
’12 counters with Paul, Kobe, Durant, Lebron, and Chandler.
8:02 1st Quarter:
Durant has Team ’12 off to a quick 8-2 start as he drains two threes and gets a fastbreak dunk. The Dream Team’s lone bucket came on a Ewing hook shot from the post.
6:42 1st Quarter:
A couple of stops defensively from Team ’92 and we’re knotted up at 8. Bird shows he still got it by nailing a three and Magic gets an and-1 layup. Nervous moments for Team 2012 as Jordan hasn’t gotten going yet.
4:00 1st Quarter:
Tyson Chandler already has four fouls in the first six minutes.
2:22 1st Quarter:
Kevin Love is fighting valiantly in place of Chandler. He’s got six rebounds in his first two minutes with five of those coming on one sequence where he just couldn’t figure out how to make a layup. Team ’92 takes an 18-14 lead. Jordan has six.
End of the 1st Quarter:
Team 2012 goes on a huge run behind a flurry of threes from Melo and Durant. They take a 26-20 lead into the 2nd Quarter.
End of the Quarter timeout:
A comical moment here as Christian Laettner is tied to the basket and sprayed with a garden hose. Chris Mullin is particularly in to it.
7:42 2nd Quarter:
Pippen has locked down Durant defensively. Jordan is taking over and glaring a lot. I’m scared. 30-28 Dream Team.
5:02 2nd Quarter:
Kobe dribbles off his foot and then blames the ref that’s 12 feet from him. Coach K is forced to sub for him and put him in timeout to cool off.
3:30 2nd Quarter:
Deron Williams is causing problems for Stockton and he gets a few easy buckets in the lane. Team 2012 retakes the lead at 40-39.
2:12 2nd Quarter:
Dwight Howard ironically opts OUT of his courtside seats. Some guys never learn.
End of 1st Half:
First half is in the books and we’re tied at 48. Jordan leads the Dream Team with 14 and Carmelo tops a balanced attack from Team 2012 with 10.
Oh boy, here’s trouble. In a scene straight out of D3: The Mighty Ducks, Dwyane Wade has shown up demanding he take the vacant spot which opened up because of the Harden injury. In a moment that could haunt USA Basketball Director Jerry Colangelo for the rest of his life, he mutters, “the man’s got a contract Tom, my hands are tied”, and allows Wade to play.
8:12 3rd Quarter:
Chandler is back, and he receives an alley-oop from Chris Paul and dunks on David Robinson. The Admiral, always full of class, retreats back on offense. Chandler will have none of that and continues to bark at him for the rest of the 3rd Quarter. I mean he’s LITERALLY barking.
5:50 3rd Quarter:
The Dream Team threatens to pull away as Mullin gets hot from deep and Barkley has his way inside. They lead 60-52. Coach K needs a timeout. Coach Boeheim needs a nap.
2:58 3rd Quarter:
Jordan is getting on Durant here about how KD’s new movie may have stolen the “magic basketball” idea from Space Jam. Play comes to a halt as everyone watches the trailer for Durant’s Thunderstruck on Russell Westbrook’s ipad.
1:00 3rd Quarter:
Tyson Chandler has fouled out.
End of the 3rd:
A big quarter for the Dream Team, with Barkley leading them to a 72-64 lead over Team 2012. The fate of the ’12 team now lies in the young hands of Anthony Davis.
9:15 4th Quarter:
Right on cue Anthony Davis gets a block that leads to a run out and Lebron finishes with a strong right handed slam. D-Wade, watching from the bench, argues that he was fouled on the play.
7:43 4th Quarter:
Westbrook penetrates and finds a wide open Kobe in the corner who knocks down a big three. We’re tied at 75.
5:28 4th Quarter:
Confirmation that Larry Bird was never really into this whole exhibition thing. He’s stolen Lebron’s McDonald’s again.
4:00 4th Quarter:
Coming down to the wire here. Team 2012 hoots and hollers as Kevin Love goes 1 on 5 with moves you haven’t seen since Hoosiers. “Best white boy in the building” someone shouts from the 2012 bench. Larry Bird rises to protest, but then nods and sits back down. Team 2012 leads 84-82.
2:51 4th Quarter:
Back and forth action. Jordan with a reverse lay-up. Lebron with a fadeaway jumper. Bird got an ice cream cone.
1:00 4th Quarter:
The Dream Team fights back and takes a 90-87 lead in the final minute. Coach K calls timeout.
0:25 4th Quarter:
UNBELIEVABLE. Incredible defense by the Dream Team led to Iguodala forcing a 30 footer at the end of the shot clock. He banked it in and we’re tied at 90!
0:10 4th Quarter:
Kobe with a steal! He passed to Melo on the break and Melo traveled!!
0:09 4th Quarter:
Timeout Dream Team. Coach Chuck Daly drawing up a play. Gotta go to Jordan here, right?
End of Game:
OMG. A lot to get through here. Daly did as we thought and put the ball in Jordan’s hands. Coach K called for an emergency double team and Jordan found Pippen wide open on the wing. Only he wasn’t wide open, as Anthony Davis came out of nowhere to block his shot.
Here’s where it gets crazy. Davis blocked the shot with such authority that it flew to the other end of the court and… IT WENT IN! Team 2012 wins on a miracle swat and they mob Davis. 93-90 Final.
Wade rushes to the scorer’s table, takes the trophy and declares himself MVP even though he didn’t play a minute.
Jordan is not talking to Pippen. Maybe he thinks he should have pump faked?
Confetti falls from the rafters. In a show of good sportsmanship, both teams shake hands and share congrats.
Back in Team 2012’s locker room, someone puts on DJ Kool’s Let Me Clear My Throat and even Coach K butts in for some dancing. Wish I could’ve had the video camera for that one.
A somber scene exists in the other locker room, where Jordan is hounding Ewing for missing free throws. Someone tries to calm him by pointing out that it “wasn’t real”, but Jordan won’t listen and threatens a return to baseball. No one protests.
The two teams get on their buses and head their separate ways, vowing to never speak of this chance encounter again. But I was there, and now you kinda were too.