The London games are on and already the events have been fantastic:
Misty May and Kerri Walsh are incredible –In a tough opening round game, the two ladies who have won the past two Olympic Gold medals in Beach Volleyball managed to come out on top. In their amazing Olympic careers Misty and Kerri have never lost a set. Not a match, but not a set either. An unbelievable run of dominance – and their first match in 2012 showed why. Twice they got down to the Aussies (themselves previous medalists) and twice Misty May simply took over. She made digs that virtually no one else could get. She dove and dipped and made incredible one handed saves; they simply took over. There is a reason these ladies will probably win a medal, and they will be tough to beat.
The US Basketball Team vs The Dream Team…settled – The US Mens Team won their first game against France pretty handily, but the big news is that LeBron and Kobe are continuing to fuel the fire by saying they could beat the Dream Team. Before everyone flips out, lets remember just how much we are overvaluing the Dream Team. Yes, there were 11 Hall of Famers on the team. Yes, they dominated subpar competition. Yes, they had Michael Jordan. However…
Today’s athletes are simply better. They have better training, better nutrition and all kinds of physical advantages. Imagine Dwight Howard playing on this team – some have called him the best defensive player of all time. In a perfect world “the Supreme Team” (as I will now refer to the 2012 team with Howard as) would have Howard and Tyson Chandler (no stiff himself) as their centers. LeBron, Kobe, Melo, Durant, Love round out the forward / shooting guard positions. Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Russell Westbrook, Rose (perfect world) and Wade round out the point guard / scorer position. As I see it, the only advantage the Dream Team has is in the Power Forward position – Malone / Barkley would be tough to guard…however, LeBron could do it and neither of them would be able to handle him on the other end. Kobe / Jordan would challenge each other and Jordan would probably win the battle but Kobe would score too. Few on the Dream Team could handle LeBron. And then there is the Supreme Team’s true victory – at point guard. As much as we want to believe Magic was still elite at this point, he was not. Bird was virtually useless. Paul, Westbrook, Williams, Rose and Wade would eat John Stockton alive. Magic would be unable to guard the quicker, much more athletic point guards. Up front, Clyde Drexler would be useless spelling Jordan against more athletic players and Kevin Love would be a matchup nightmare because of his shooting ability. And then there is LeBron. He is playing like a better Larry Bird and his passing is unlike anything the Dream Team had. He is bigger and stronger than Barkley or Malone and would be virtually unstoppable. Scottie Pippen was a great defender but LeBron would be too strong for him. Then you have scoring machine Kevin Durant. If you have to focus all your energy on LeBron (possibly double teaming him) the point guards / Durant would simply dominate.
In the end the Dream Team might win a few games, but the Supreme Team would win.
Before you throw your computer across the room hear me out: Picture a pre-Dream Team era team. Think about Wilt, Russell, Cousy, Jerry West, Elgin Baylor and the Big O being on an Olympic Team. They would have dominated completely. We would have called them the best team ever. Jordan would have gone on record saying that his team would win for sure. The old timers, like Russell would have called him crazy. So would the media and fans.
Twenty years later the same thing is happening…how would Chris Mullin do against LeBron? End the silliness now and bow to the next generation.
It is not Bejing –Michael Phelps dominated in Bejing and has struggled in London. He is older and missed two years of training. Could his all-time medal haul be in jeopardy? He finished 4th in an event he has owned for 8 years. In the relay (with his teammate and the current best swimmer in the world Ryan Lochte) the US team took silver. Again, we need to remind ourselves, Phelps is past his dominating prime. Could he still grab a few golds? Of course, but do not expect him to do what he did in Bejing.
The Opening Ceremonies were sort of bizarre – I liked them, I really did. There were some very cool moments (James Bond, the Rings, the Torch) but I do not think I loved them. They were…weird. Very, very weird.