Musings of a Sportsopath

In a recent article (You’re All Wrong) I wrote about the comparison between the 1992 Dream Team and the 2012 Olympic Team. If you have read the article, you know that my underlying point was that comparing eras in sports, while fun, is extremely futile, and I made what I believe were convincing arguments for both sides, just to show that there is no real way to resolve the debate.

But now I’m going to write what may seem like a contradictory article, for the very reason that comparing other eras is, like I just said, fun. It occurred to me while daydreaming. The Jordan era and the LeBron era are both considered “golden ages” of basketball. The time in between is very different and faced a number of problems. As far as superstars go, both 1992 and 2012 had/have an embarrassment of riches. However, what I suddenly realized the other day was that a “Dream Team” from 2002, not ’92 or ’12, would be scary good. In fact, they could play with either era.

How dare I, right? I’m going to come up with a team from the Dark Ages of basketball that could take on LeBron/Durant or Jordan/Magic?

Here’s my team.

Guards: Allen Iverson, Jason Kidd, Kobe Bryant, Gary Payton, Ray Allen

Forwards: Tracy McGrady, Paul Pierce, Chris Webber, Kevin Garnett, Tim Duncan

Centers: Shaquille O’Neal, Alonzo Mourning

Correct me if I’m wrong, but all of those guys will be enshrined, right? C-Webb and McGrady will have the most difficult time with the ballot, but I think we could see all of those guys end up in the Hall of Fame. For a great article on McGrady (when you’re done with this article) take a look at a fellow blogger’s post: A glimmer of greatness: Remembering Tracy McGrady.

I’m actually scared by how good this team would be. Even though he was at the height of his dominance, Allen Iverson would be the player I would cut if I was required to have one college player (like ’92 and ’12). I’m not sure how well he could play in this team. Even though he could take about anyone one-on-one, I’d rather have Kidd on the court, dishing to what is the best collection of big men among any of the three eras.

It’s hard to compare this team to ’62, ’72, or ’82, for the reasons detailed in my earlier article, because the game and the world have changed so much since then. Besides that, it’s never good to bet against Wilt, Kareem, Russell, and the Big O, no matter what squad you have.

I’m not going to expand on my 2002 Dream Team too much because if you know hoops I think the roster speaks for itself. I just found it very interesting that in a time when the NBA’s popularity dipped between 1992 and 2012, the league actually had an unusual number of terrific players. Besides that, some of the best foreign players of all time (who wouldn’t be able to represent Team USA) were present as well, including Dikembe Mutombo, a young Dirk Nowitzki and the emerging Steve Nash.

Just something to think about.

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