Former Lakers forward James Worthy considers the 1992 Dream Team better… (J.D. Cuban / AllSport )
It appears that Kobe Bryant could beat the 1992 Dream Team only in ... well ... his dreams.
Not many have bought his contention that the 2012 London team could beat the 1992 squad. Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley and Magic Johnson immediately laughed at such an argument through the radio, newspapers and Twitter. Vegas oddsmakers have tabbed the '92 Dream Team as six-point favorites. And former Laker James Worthy believes there's no scenario he could envision in which the 2012 squad upsets the 1992 team.
"As much as LeBron and Kobe, Chris Paul and some of those guys on the team are really talented, if you give me a healthy Bird, Magic, Charles Barkley and Patrick Ewing, David Robinson and Chris Mullin, I'm going to go with that era that's wiser and more fundamentally sound," Worthy said Friday at an appearance at Bell Gardens Intermediate School, sponsored by After School All-Stars Los Angeles and Metro PCS. "Those guys played in college. I want to go with that team."
The 1992 Dream team featured 11 Hall-of-Famers and players who combined 23 NBA championships. Bryant contended that some members of that team were in the tale end of their career, including Johnson and Bird. But plenty of them, including Jordan, Scottie Pippen and Barkley, entered the Olympics in their primes. Meanwhile, Bryant is 34, and several of his teammates are basically second choices.
Tyson Chandler, James Harden, Andre Iguodala, Kevin Love and Russell Westbrook are essential throw-ins considering the various absences, including Dwight Howard (back), Derrick Rose, LaMarcus Aldridge and Dwyane Wade.
Worthy's contention that the 1992 team was superior goes beyond skill.
"Larry Bird wasn't as talented as any of these guys on the current team. But he was still better because he was fundamentally sound and plays the game the way it was supposed to be played," Worthy said. "There's not a lot of one on one. LeBron wouldn't have as much success playing one-on-one game against Patrick Ewing and David Robinson. He' be met at the rim. It just doesn't happen.... Guys were defensively minded and I don't see that as much in today's game."
Still, even if Worthy said there's nothing Team USA could do in the 2012 London Olympics to change his sentiment, he understood why Bryant showed such confidence.
"What else is he going to say?" Worthy said. "He's on the current team. It's just like could my era beat the era 20 years ago? Of course."