Mon, September 23, 2013

Kobe undaunted by Jordan's Olympic matchup scoff

By RYAN WOLSTAT, QMI Agency


Kobe Bryant (left) of the U.S. Olympic men's basketball team walks past teammate LeBron James during an exhibition game against the Dominican Republic in Las Vegas on Thursday, July 12, 2012. (Steve Marcus/Reuters)

LAS VEGAS - Kobe Bryant didn’t get to his lofty level as one of the game’s greats by backing down to anybody.

Not even the man he has patterned everything from his on-court game to his mannerisms after.

Bryant’s idol, Michael Jordan, scoffed at the Lakers star’s comments this week that his current USA Basketball squad would beat Jordan’s Dream Team.

“I absolutely laughed,” Jordan told The Associated Press prior to a golf tournament on Thursday about Bryant’s boast. “For him to compare those two teams is not one of the smarter things he ever could have done. For him to make that comparison, it’s one of those things where it creates conversation.

“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.”

Scottie Pippen also weighed in, telling ESPN: “I think we could probably beat this team by 25,” while Charles Barkley said that only LeBron James, Bryant and Kevin Durant would even make the original squad, let alone beat it.

Still, Kobe, who like Jordan is one of the best trash-talkers ever to lace up a pair of sneakers, was undaunted, itching to tell the media one more thing following the USA’s blowout 113-59 win over the Dominican Republic in Las Vegas.

“So what? He knows I’m a bad mother-(expletive),” Bryant said of Jordan. “I’m not really tripping.”

Bryant’s bravado drew chuckles, and he later gave the Dream Team credit and backtracked, if only slightly, in mentioning the 1992 group’s significant size advantage.

“The fact is, they have … those big guys (Patrick Ewing and David Robinson). It’s tough,” he said. “If you’re asking me: ‘Can you beat them one game? Hell ya, we can beat them in one game. You didn’t ask me if we could beat them in a 7-game series. In one game, we can beat them. No question about it.”

Sadly, we’ll never know.

AND HERE IS WHY ...

Breaking down the Dream Team vs. 2012 USA Team debate: Here are 3 reasons why the Dream Team would prevail:

1. The best, most unstoppable and most dominant player on the court would be Michael Jordan.

2. The Dream Team’s size advantage would be too much to overcome. Magic Johnson would tower over the 2012 team’s point guard crop and Patrick Ewing and David Robinson would have their way inside.

3. Defence. Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Robinson and Ewing are four of the greatest defensive players ever and would slow down the likes of Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant, while Karl Malone would give LeBron James a harder time than most current NBAers since he had the same frame and was also a premier athlete.

And one reason why it could be close: The 2012 group is far quicker and the Dream Team’s only weakness was checking quick guards. Chris Paul, Deron Williams and especially Russell Westbrook would cause problems.