Team USA Basketballers Draw Praise from Dream Team
2012 London Summer Olympics
The current Team USA has received accolades from several members of the original Dream Team after its 83-point rout of Nigeria in the qualifying round of men's basketball event at London Olympics.
"I want to congratulate the guys on their continued dominance in London. This is starting to look a lot like our 1992 Dream Team. I look forward to watching them continue to drive for that gold medal and bring it home for the USA," said Magic Johnson when asked to comment about the Americans' 156-73 rout of Nigeria.
"That's probably how many points they'd beat the '92 team by … if we played today," said Charles Barkley, another member of the 1992 squad whose biggest victory was a 79-point pounding of Cuba before the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona.
The 1992 Dream Team's biggest margin in the Olympics was 68 points, beating Angola to a pulp, 116-48, in its opening game.
Statistically, the 2012 team has been more dominant in London in its first three games, averaging 121.3 points in wins over France, Tunisia and Nigeria compared to 110 points per game for the Dream Team in its opening three victories.
But the 2012 team is in for a tough challenge in its last two pool play games in Group A as it will face No. 5 Lithuania and No. 3 Argentina.
"When we're out there on the basketball court, we're not thinking about what the 1992 Dream Team did or anything like that," said Team USA forward Carmelo Anthony, who led the way against Nigeria with a U.S. Olympic record of 37 points, including 10 three-pointers, in just 14 minutes of playing time.
"We respect those guys and we understand what those guys did. We understand the standards that those guys set. But we're playing for ourselves right now, for our country, for this moment," he added.
"It's a good feeling. We always try to make our mark, somehow, some way, and this is all well and good, but the mark that we want to leave is to leave with another gold medal," added Team USA guard Chris Paul, who had 11 of his team's record 41 assists against Nigeria.
"I don't think so," Kobe Bryant said when asked if the record-setting performance will ignite the debate on who is the better team. "This is just something, being a part of history, but that's where it stands."
Bryant also defended the team's celebration when Andre Iguodala buried a 3-pointer to erase the previous single-game record of 138 points set by Brazil at the 1988 Olympic.
"We understand that there have been a lot of great teams that have come through here and I think it was just kind of an acknowledgment to each other that it was a job well done in terms of being a part of it," Bryant said.
USA Basketball blows out Nigeria
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