No obstacle seemed insurmountable for Kobe Bryant. Even if it included 11 Hall of Famers who are widely recognized as the greatest collection ever, the Lakers legend was up for the challenge.
Kobe and LeBron vs. Dream Team
Dream Team was and still is the standard against every other U.S. basketball team is measured. But in a potential matchup against the '12 Team USA, Kobe promised he would bet on himself and his team.
"The fact is, they have [Patrick] Ewing and [David] Robinson and those big guys, it's tough," Bryant said during training camp in Las Vegas ahead of the 2012 Olympics. "If you're asking me, 'Can you beat them one game?' Hell yeah, we can beat them in one game. You didn't ask me if we could beat them in a 7-game series. In one game, we can beat them. No question about it."
A few days later, LeBron James said the same thing.
"The '92 Dream Team paved the way for all of us. We understand what they did for our game, but we also are big-time competitors as well, so if we got the opportunity to play them in a game we feel like we would win, too," then-Heat superstar said.
MJ and Barkley disagree, but...
Michael Jordan usually isn't the one to publicly react to hypothetical NBA discussions. But even he couldn't just let this one slide.
"I absolutely laughed," MJ said about Kobe's comments. "I heard Kobe say we were not athletic. But we were smart. He said we were too old, but I was 29 and in the prime of my career. Pip was 26 or 27, Barkley was 29, Patrick was 29 and Chris Mullin was 29. Almost everybody was still in their 20s."
Charles Barkley also took Jordan's side, saying the Dream Team would beat the '12 Team USA by double digits. But then there is NBA 2k22; our best chance of answering one of basketball's biggest hypothetical questions.
That's when Black Mamba entered the scene...