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Dream vs Reality USA Basketball 2012

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Evolution is inevitable. It's human nature to increase efficiency as time
progresses. A computer or automobile from 1992 can't compete with a 2012 model,
and neither can an athlete. This is as it should be. Without steady improvement
in all fields how else could society advance? People were outraged when Kobe
Bryant said his 2012 roster could beat 1992's Dream Team but quite frankly he's
right! With the theory of evolution and advances made in sports science and
nutrition over the past twenty years why wouldn't the current team be better?

People get too caught up in the mystique and historical significance of the
players that were on the Dream Team. Magic, Jordan, Bird, Pippen, Barkley
represent the start of the "pro sports renaissance" that created the
hundred-million dollar contract, endorsement driven market of today. To most
fans these athletes symbolize the "golden era" of the sport, and this feeling
manifests itself into the unrealistic belief that they're unbeatable. Of course
they won every game by forty points, the opposition was sub par! Remember, we
only used professional players in 1992 because we didn't win gold in 1988 when
America was represented by college athletes. Nine out of ten times prior to that
American amateurs won the gold. Somewhere along the line the rest of the world
gradually narrowed the gap to a point where they could actually compete with the
American pros.

The current international influence on the NBA is undeniable. In the past
decade we've seen foreign born players like Tony Parker and Dirk Nowitzki win
the NBA finals MVP. Some of the best players in the league are now actually from
over seas, which drastically raises the level of talent for their respective
countries. Players like Marc, and Pau Gasol, Manu Ginobili, Dirk Nowitzki, Tony
Parker, Luis Scola, Jose Calderon, Loul Deng and the recently retired Yao Ming
all played Olympic Basketball for a country other than the United States. While
Team USA is still superior its obvious why some of the games in 2012 are more
competitive then those of 1992.


No disrespect to Magic Johnson and Larry Bird but they were certainly past
their prime by the time the Dream Team was assembled. I find it hard to believe
they'd be able to keep up with Kevin Durant, Lebron James or Carmelo Anthony at
this point in their career. John Stockton would look like a sacrificial lamb in
front a point guard like Deron Williams or Russell Westbrook. The evolution of
the sport has resulted in a league of "hybrid players". A league where the
guards are much larger and more athletic, and the big men faster and more
multidimensional. Think of it as "Athletic Darwinism"; future generations
naturally improve upon the talent level established by their predecessors. The
same theory can be applied to the NFL with players like Cam Newton, Michael
Vick, and Robert Griffin III who are athletically superior to the quarterbacks
of the past. In order for them to be successful in today's league they have to
be! Freakishly gifted defensive players like DeMarcus Ware, and Julius Peppers
make the immobile statuesque quarterbacks of yesteryear obsolete. (See Drew
Bledsoe)

Even if you're skeptical about the "Athletic Darwinism" theory and you still
believe the 92 team was better you have to admit the Twenty Twelve-ers are more
than capable of wining a hypothetical one game elimination scenario. If it were
somehow possible for the two teams to meet in a gold medal game who's to say
Kobe doesn't go off for eighty points? Or Lebron doesn't have one of his forty
point, seventeen rebound, thirteen assist performances? Truth is, they don't
need a legendary performance to win but anytime players of that caliber
take the floor such a performance is a possibility. Kobe, Lebron, Durant are the
evolved forms of Jordan, Magic, Bird. The talent level of the NBA will continue
to increase as the game and its players continue to evolve, its human nature.
And if the best players from the U.S. are chosen in 2032 they'll most certainly
be better than the 2012 team. Its okay to revere the players of the past but its
ridiculous to think they set an unreachable precedent, that the last twenty
years have been spent in regression rather than progression.