The ’92 Dream Team widely called the greatest collection of professional athletes in history was, without a doubt, Michael Jordan’s team. At the time he was coming off a second consecutive championship – in which he has slapped around fellow Dream Teamer Clyde Drexler – and was at the apex of his physical abilities.
In 2012 LeBron has won his 1st NBA championship (in his 2nd straight appearence) over fellow Olympic teammates Kevin Durant, James Harden and Russell Westbrook and has never played better than he did this postseason. He reached a level Kobe never did – a level few others ever have. LeBron is literally on top of the world and this Continued Dream Team is without doubt his team. Had he lost the title to Durant it could have caused all kinds of alpha dog problems but he did not. Instead LBJ so thoroughly dominated the series that he left little doubt who is one of the five best players of all-time.
Now as opposed to the 2008 “Redeem Team” where Kobe, Wade, LeBron and Melo were all in the running for alpha dog – LBJ was still a few years from Miami and Kobe had just lost the NBA Finals while Wade was already a champ – LeBron is clearly the man. He has never played at a higher level than right now and the Olympic Team is his team. LeBron is the alpha dog and the best player on the planet and everything will run through him. The pressure also rests squarely on him as the team is at little more than half strength due to the overwhelming losses of many key players. James has had to play center at many times during their warmup games (as has Melo) and even playing at half speed he is the best player in the world.
Welcome to LeBron’s MJ Moment (as a younger, stronger guy) where he gets to sit confidently atop the NBA pyramid and atop the Olympic Team. Is it somewhat fitting that the first NBA Dream Team was led by Jordan and now the last could be led by LeBron?
The symmetry feels right and after the US Team romps through the tournament and LeBron raises his second straight gold medal he will be atop the basketball world and bask in the moment.
We might as well get used to it – he is only 27.