Thursday, 19 July 2012

USA Dream Team 1992: the little I know

I'll be frank, my knowledge of basketball is incredibly limited. I didn't start even remotely following it until moving to Asia, where I found that everyone follows the NBA. That and the Premier League. I've never been that good at meeting people, but one thing I can do is learn about things that other people like so I can hold up a conversation, so I did some reading up.

I have to say though, that despite being a thoroughly bizarre sport in which teams regularly score over 100 yet only win by a margin of a few points, it also has its appeals. Sure, the first three quarters of a match seem fairly pointless to a layman like me, but the athleticism of the players is genuinely impressive. There's nothing in sport quite like seeing a player bung the ball half the length of the court to see a guy leap in the air, catch the ball, and dunk it emphatically (this is called an alley-oop for those of you who are uneducated).

So it is, with London 2012 approaching, that attention has turned to the current crop of USA players and their standing in history. They are undeniably talented - Kobe Bryant, Lebron James, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook aren't mugs - but Bryant can't help opening his big mouth and claim they are better than the Dream Team of the '92 Olympics.

This claim has been widely rubbished, as that team is generally regarded as being the greatest ever. If you're not familiar with this team, that's the one with Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Scottie Pippen, Clyde Drexler etc. (seriously, I'm on thin ice here, I'm not entirely sure, looking at the roster, who I should list after Jordan and Johnson...). I guess it's a bit like having a football team that included players like Pele, Messi, Maradonna, Zidane, Cantona etc. Even the Barackness Monster has stated a firm opinion that the Dream Team were better, and watching their old matches, I have to agree.

So here are some videos from happy times, when the NBA was a team sport:

And as a little bonus, here's 'Air' Jordan dunking from the free throw line. If you've ever tried to dunk, you'll know this is seriously impressive - I can't dunk from right under the hoop, and I'm not exactly short:

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