10:49 am Aug. 3, 2012
About those inevitable comparisons between the men's basketball team that America sent to this year's Olympics and the sainted, original 1992 Dream Team ...
Everyone from Kobe Bryant to Barack Obama has weighed in on the question. And most people, 2012 participant Bryant aside, have sided with the 1992 group.
That's understandable, all these years later. The players on the original team have long since completed their playing careers, and we have a full view of their accomplishments.
Michael Jordan won six championships, Karl Malone scored more points than anyone but Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Larry Bird and Magic Johnson won three M.V.P. awards each.
The resumes of the current team are still being compiled. LeBron James just won his first title, and Carmelo Anthony is still figuring out who he is.
In that regard, though, Anthony is continuing to make a case for himself as an outstanding Olympian (if not yet as a functional part of a championship-caliber N.B.A. team).
He was at the center of Thursday night's unsightly, record-setting 156-73 win over Nigeria.
The total points scored and the margin of victory easily eclipsed both Olympic records and, therefore, anything the original Dream Team had ever done.
It was a mismatch, obviously. But probably not as ridiculous a mismatch as the Angola team that lost to the 1992 Dream Team by 116-48. Nigeria at least has a pair of N.B.A.-experienced players, Ike Diogu and Al-Farouq Aminu. And players like Ekene Ibekwe, Koko Archibong and Tony Skinn played for Division I college basketball programs, with Skinn leading George Mason to the Final Four in 2006.
Anthony, the high scorer, managed his 37 points in just 14 minutes. His astonishing shooting touch was helped by the international three-point line, which is roughly 1.5 feet closer than the N.B.A. distance. Still, shooting 10-for-12 from that range was an Olympic record, and Anthony's incredible burst of scoring serves as a reminder that this 2012 team not only has talents up and down the roster—Anthony isn't even a starter, remember—but has more of those players in their primes.
Anthony is 28; everyone else, with the exception of Kobe Bryant, is 29 or younger. On the 1992 team, only David Robinson, Scottie Pippen and Christian Laettner were under 29.
Elsewhere in New York sports:
The Yankees welcome Oliver Perez and the Seattle Mariners to Yankee Stadium for a three-game series.
Ronny Cedeno had five RBIs to help the Mets beat the Giants, 9-1. After their freefall, the Mets have won five of eight on a West Coast trip so far, and head to San Diego for three more starting Friday. Frank Francisco will be waiting for them there.
The Red Bulls head to Houston Friday night with first place in the Eastern Conference on the line. President for business operations Chris Heck is no longer with the team, weeks after asking to be held responsible if the 1 p.m. start on July 18 didn't work out. The on-field temperature at game time? 106 degrees.