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1992's Dream Team vs. 2012 Team USA: Bryant, Jordan and Barkley trade barbs

Posted By KATE STANTON, UPI.com   |   July 12, 2012 at 1:45 PM   |   Comments

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July 12 (UPI) -- Lakers guard Kobe Bryant opened an Olympic-sized can of worms for basketball fans Tuesday, claiming that this year's USA Olympic basketball team would have beaten 1992's gold medal-winning Dream Team.

While Bryant thought that the Michael Jordan-led Dream Team might have had a size advantage, many of those players, like Magic Johnson and Larry Bird, were at the end of their careers (Translation--old) in 1992.

"It'd be a tough one, but I think we'd pull it out," Bryant said.

Dream Team squad member Michael Jordan fought back in a Thursday interview featured on ESPN, saying that he "absolutely laughed" at Bryant's comments, adding that there was "no comparison" between the two squads.

"I guess we'll never know. I'd like to think that we had 11 Hall of Famers on that team and whenever they get 11 Hall of Famers you call and ask me who had the better Dream Team. Remember now, they learned from us. We didn't learn from them," Jordan said.

Considered one of the best sports teams ever assembled, 1992's Dream Team featured active NBA players, the first American Olympic team to do so.

Boasting a roster of legends like Patrick Ewing, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Charles Barkley, Scottie Pippen and of course Michael Jordan, the Dream Team defeated Croatia 117-85 to win the gold medal.

Barkley dismissed Bryant's remarks Wednesday in a guest appearance on Philadelphia's Mike Missanelli Show.

"How old is Kobe Bryant, 36? He's 34? And he's calling us old? At the time, we were only like 28, 29. ... Michael Jordan and me were the same age. We were both 29," Barkley said.

Barkley also claimed that only three players from the current team--Kobe Bryant, Lebron James and Kevin Durant--would have earned a spot on the 1992 squad.

"Their point guards weren't going to beat us. That's a no-brainer," Barkley said.

Thankfully, we can get some numbers on this.

According to 10,000 computer simulations run by sports betting systems operator Accuscore, the Dream Team would prevail over this year's Olympic squad 53.1 percent of the time, but only by an average of one point per game.

Visit ESPN.com for a more detailed analytic breakdown of the two teams.

Follow @KateStan and @UPI on Twitter.
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