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It is without a doubt that organized sports thrive off statistics. Without an array of pundits analyzing box scores to uncover irrelevant consistencies, the allure in guessing future outcomes and deciphering how the game evolved would be no more. For active players however, numbers are just that; a complicated equation that theoretically represents the likelihood of a certain action happening. Sure Dwight Howard’s free-throw percentage could stand to gain a few 10 points, but to him it only identifies what he’s done, not what he’s capable of achieving in unique, pressured situations. However, the one arena where statistics reign as the lone argument to any athletic debate centers around hypothetical match ups between legends of yesteryear and superstars of today.
These speculative hardwood battles have been fought in barbershops from all over. Kobe or Jordan? Dwight or Shaq? LeBron or Magic Johnson? This vain struggle between past and present hit the international stage this past few week with Kobe Bryant proclaiming, “we could pull it out,” when asked if the 2012 Olympic Team could beat the Dream Team of ’92. The same grouping of 11 future Hall of Famers that demolished their opponents by an average of over 40 points a game, bringing the American game of basketball to untapped global markets. Kobe reasoned his claim by stating although the Dream Team would beat them in terms of size, this year’s squad is incredibly athletic while the Dream Team “consisted mainly of players at the tail end of their career.” Certainly a bold statement for the 5-time world champion as he himself just completed his 16th season in the NBA. Charles Barkley responded only as you’d expect, laughingly dismissing Kobe’s assumption. Barkley went on to point out their lack of players with significant accomplishments as well as their selection of point guards would have no chance of beating him or the rest of his teammates.
Will the dream team’s legendary cast with unmatched intelligence and towering paint presence reign supreme in a grueling dogfight? Or will this year’s team with an average age two years younger and a lightning fast backcourt take control in a run-and-gun high-scoring track meet?
Looking back at our last poll in which we asked, “Batman vs. Spider-Man,” the majority of people would be better suited for Gotham City as “Batman” took 74.4% of the vote, while Spider-Man could only web-in 25.6%.