CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Michael Jordan said there’s no way Kobe Bryant and this year’s USA Olympic basketball team could’ve beaten the 1992 Dream Team.
Jordan told The Associated Press Thursday that he laughed — “I absolutely laughed” — when hearing Bryant’s comments that the squad training in Las Vegas could take Jordan and company.
Jordan said there’s “no comparison” which team is better.
“For him to compare those two teams is not one of the smarter things he ever could have done,” Jordan said prior playing in a celebrity golf tournament in Charlotte.
Jordan said the 1992 team, which included 11 future Hall of Famers and won its six Olympic games by an average of more than 43 points en route to capturing the gold medal, was a better overall team largely because of the experience it put on the floor.
“I heard Kobe say we were not athletic,” said a smiling Jordan as he sat in a golf cart puffing on his cigar while waiting to tee off. “But we were smart. He said we were too old, but I was 29 and in the prime of my career. Pip (Scottie Pippen) was 26 or 27, (Charles) Barkley was 29, Patrick (Ewing) was 29 and Chris Mullin was 29. Almost everybody was still in their twenties.”
Jordan’s response came after Bryant told reporters in Las Vegas that this year’s team could pull out a win against the Dream Team if they faced each other in their primes. Bryant said this year’s team has a bunch of racehorses, players who are incredibly athletic while the Dream Team consisted mainly of players at the tail end of their careers.”
Bryant’s comments received immediate and sharp rebuttal from some members of the Dream Team, including Barkley.
Jordan joined in on Thursday.
“Most of us were in the prime of our careers, at a point where athleticism doesn’t really matter,” said Jordan, the owner of the Charlotte Bobcats. “You have to know how to play the game.”
Jordan shook his head when asked why he thinks Bryant made the comments.
“I imagine he’s trying to say it to legitimize his own Dream Team,” Jordan said. “But to me it’s not even a question what team is better.”
Jordan said Bryant is certainly entitled to his opinion — even though he said it’s just plain wrong.
“For him to make that comparison, it’s one of those things where it creates conversation,” Jordan said. “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.”