Patrick Ewing thinks Dream Team too big for current Team USA

Orlando Magic assistant coach Patrick Ewing laughs during

Orlando Magic assistant coach Patrick Ewing laughs during a shoot around before an NBA game against the Charlotte Bobcats. (March 6, 2012) (Credit: AP)

WASHINGTON -- This whole Dream Team comparison is laughable to Patrick Ewing.

As a member of the 1992 U.S. Olympic men's basketball team that took the world by storm during its gold-medal run in Barcelona, Ewing isn't sure why anyone would think the 2012 team might be better. In the mind of the longtime Knicks center, the team that was assembled two decades ago to help bring United States basketball back to world prominence -- and dominance -- would thrash this year's squad.

"There is no discussion; '92 would have kicked butts and taken names," Ewing said Saturday after the 2012 Olympic team wrapped up a workout for some military members and their families at the DC Armory.

"Why? Look at the team: 11 Hall of Famers," Ewing said before mentioning Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Charles Barkley, Karl Malone and Magic Johnson. "Who is guarding them?"

Kobe Bryant created a controversy when the Olympic team was training in Las Vegas, saying he believes this year's crew could beat the 1992 edition if the teams played a game with everyone in the prime of his career.

Barkley criticized Bryant. And then Jordan responded last week. He said he laughed at Bryant's remarks and thought the Lakers star might be trying to legitimize this year's team. "For him to compare those two teams is not one of the smarter things he ever could have done,'' Jordan said, adding: "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.''

Ewing pointed to the lack of size down low on the current team and believes the 1992 squad would dominate the 2012 team inside. "We had David Robinson, Patrick Ewing, Karl Malone and Charles Barkley," Ewing said. "They [2012] are small."

Carmelo Anthony and some of his Olympic teammates have chuckled at the back-and-forth chatter. "That right there, it's funny," Anthony said. "We can't duplicate what the '92 Dream Team did. They did what they did, changed the game globally, worldwide. They changed the way we as basketball players in the U.S. are viewed around the world.

"But we know we can't duplicate that. We just want to go over there and set our own standards. I think we did a great job of doing that in 2008, and if we go over there and take care of business in 2012, people will be talking about us alongside the Dream Team."

Mike Krzyzewski, who is the coach of this year's team and was an assistant Team USA coach in 1992, isn't all that interested in joining the debate.

"I don't really spend much time thinking about the comparison of teams," he said. "We are trying to put a team together. The '92 Dream Team won a gold medal and they are legendary."

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