Last weekend I watched one of my favorite “Curb Your Enthusiasm” episodes, “Palestinian Chicken.” I tried coming up with my Mount Rushmore for Curb episodes but then my OCD kicked in and this sentence turned into a 20-minute meltdown – in case anyone was wondering. Now, for those who haven’t seen this episode or don’t watch the show, Larry David attends a dinner party with some close friends. As dinner is winding down, Juliet, the host, asks everyone how the potatoes were. The following takes place:
Juliet: “So, how were the potatoes?”
Everyone at the table: “Good.” “Really good.” “Delicious.”
Larry: “Actually, the potatoes were…a little cold.”
You see, everyone at the table was being polite. Even though the potatoes were a little cold, they acted respectful and courteous because they were guests in Juliet’s home and didn’t want to disrupt the meal. Most normal people would have acted the same in that situation, choosing to ignore the slightly undercooked potatoes for the sake of having a pleasant evening. Larry on the other hand could give two shits about social convention. Juliet asked how the potatoes were, so instead of pretending like they were actually good, he told her the truth. “They were a little cold.”
Much like Larry David, I too have little regard for social conventions. And one convention I’ve grown sick of lately is the vehement worshipping of the 1992 Dream Team. Since the release of NBA TV’s “Dream Team” documentary, and Kobe’s recent comments regarding the ‘92 team, the media has gone completely overboard in their efforts of assuring the public how invincible that team really was.
Well I have a news flash for everyone: “The potatoes were actually a little cold.”
And while I don’t think this current Olympic team could have beaten the “almighty” 1992 Dream Team like Kobe stated, I think the 2008 Redeem Team would have.
Are you serious? The Dream Team is the greatest team ever assembled in the history of team sports! They had Magic, Bird AND Jordan. They won ever game by 44 points! They had 11 Hall of Famers!
That’s the spark noted version of what I get when I tell people I think the 2008 Redeem Team would have beaten the ’92 Dream Team. Watching people lose their shit has actually become pretty entertaining (I may have stumbled upon MTV’s new hidden camera reality show. At the very least it’s better than the “Pauly D Project”.) And because I’ve had this argument so many times with so many different people, I’ve started to notice certain patterns of inaccuracy.
The first thing people need to realize when having this debate is that “Bird and Magic” weren’t actually “Bird and Magic.” Bird’s body was breaking down and Magic hadn’t played basketball in a year. In 1989, Bird played only six games before ending his season to have bone spurs surgically removed from both heels. He missed 22 games in ’91 to a compressed nerve root in his back and 37 games in ’92 after offseason surgery to remove a disc from his back. During the Olympics, he averaged just 8.4 ppg. Not exactly Bird-esque.
Magic had been retired for a year following his positive testing of HIV before joining the ’92 team. Once in Barcelona, Magic missed two games with a banged-up knee and averaged just eights points and five assists.
So enough with the “Bird and Magic” argument, okay? With all due respect, both were old, banged-up and couldn’t guard a single guy on the 2008 team.
Next up is Stockton and Mullin, two guys who, in my opinion, wouldn’t even have made the ’08 team. Stockton, who only played in four of the eight games in Barcelona due to injury, attempted a total of eight shots and averaged just two assists. And in case your comeback for these two guys was that both rarely played and wouldn’t be on the court against the ’08 team, Mullin attempted the fourth-most shots during the Olympics behind Jordan, Barkley and Drexler. Yep, Drexler and Mullin as options three and four.
With Bird and Stockton both injured, Magic who hadn’t played basketball in a year, Mullin, and Duke senior Christian Laettner – that’s 40 percent of your supposed “greatest team ever assembled in the history of team sports.”
And let’s not forget when they lost to a bunch of college kids once upon a time. And don’t try and give me that substitution excuse. They were playing against 19 and 20-year-old kids. That should never happen.
Now let’s look at the 2008 Redeem Team…