Team USA dreaming of 1992
The bar has been set for the U.S. men's basketball team - match the 1992 Dream Team, the most dominant collection of basketball players ever assembled.
Who set that lofty bar? The players themselves.
"It would be a tough one but I think we would pull it out," Bryant told reporters two weeks ago about a Team USA matchup against their 1992 counterparts. "People who think we can't beat that team for one game, they are crazy. To sit there and say we can't, it's ludicrous."
While that may be a stretch - to the point where Michael Jordan reportedly laughed out loud when told of Bryant's comments - it's might not be a stretch to say that this is the best team since 1992. In Bryant, LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Chris Paul, the U.S. has four of the biggest stars at their position in the past generation.
The scary thing is that this team could have been so much deeper were it not ravaged by injuries. Four player projected to be on the team - including Dwight Howard and 2011 NBA MVP Derrick Rose - were forced to sit these games out. With them, Jordan might not have laughed so hard.
Their exhibition schedule was far from smooth sailing, with tight games against Brazil and Argentina. But in its last test, a 100-78 drubbing of Spain in Barcelona, the U.S. proved that, no matter how much the rest of the world has caught up, that it is still the team to beat.