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Chris: I associate the United States Men’s National Basketball Team with frequent excursions to the bathroom. This is a result of having consumed 768 ounces of carbonated beverages, distributed evenly into 24 plastic cups, depicting members of the 1992 and 1994 teams. Ronald McDonald was glad to see me those two summers, and I was glad said items fell under the category of “food” rather than “toys,” meaning I was not required to spend my allowance on Dream Team I and II receptacles. Unfortunately, after eight subsequent incarnations, including 2012’s Dream Team X, McDonald’s has yet to produce more collectible chalices.
Brad: I don't think you can compare any team to the original Dream Team. The teams since have had great players, but none in my opinion have risen to the level that Michael Jordan, Patrick Ewing, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Scottie Pippen, Charles Barkley did. They completely blew everyone away and renewed interest in men's basketball and Olympic gold.
Joe: This team is a Dream Team Wannabe. There is nobody on this team that can even carry Michael's shoes.
Ralphie: This year's team is definitely the best since the '92 team. They are similar because each team had the best of the NBA. I wish I could see the two teams play each other when they were both at their best. That would be a great game to watch, but I'm pretty sure the '92 team is better.
Joe: Until I see this team compete, I would choose the '96 team with Shaq, winning every game by at least 30 or more points, a strong choice for the second best ever.
Brad: The 2000 men's Olympic team. They really had to work to win.
Chris: Though I was bamboozled, for a time I reasoned Dream Team II was arguably better than the original. Enjoying a Dr Pepper while simultaneously gazing into Larry Johnson’s or Tim Hardaway’s eyes, which held my beverage, can make one believe strange things. And then I was certain Dream Team III upped them all. Just typing this causes me to question my ability to reason, though at least Kobe Bryant and I have something in common.
Brad: I expect the men's team to get a medal this year. I think the lineup has the hunger to come out on top at this year's Olympics. The players on this year's team grew up wanting to be the Dream Team from ’92, and now here they are Olympians themselves. They are going to want to show they are worthy.
Ralphie: I think they'll do awesome because the team is full of the NBA's best players.
Joe: The Olympic USA Basketball Team should win easily. Anything less would be unacceptable. They are simply the best.
Chris: I find it somewhat difficult to go from watching NBA games and hoping one of Kobe’s knees falls off or wanting to see LeBron James openly weep after a hard foul to rooting for them to beat Great Britain by 50. I think either letting Kevin Durant lead the team or forcing Kobe and LeBron to wear masks, making them indistinguishable, is the only solution.
Ralphie: I think the final shooter will either be Kobe or James because they are the best players.
Joe: I would expect that either Kobe or LeBron would lead. That being said, the real question is how well they can get along with each other. If they don't mesh, it’s quite possible that one of the others might become the real go-to player--maybe KD.
Brad: It's a hard call for me to choose between LeBron and Kobe. I am not sure who I see as more of a leader, but if I had to pick one, I would go with LeBron. He is going to be running off of his high from winning with the Heat, while Kobe seems to be a little too arrogant, and that could hurt his performance.
Chris: I am behind Commandeer Stern and Mark Cuban’s proposal of limiting the Olympic roster to primarily players who cannot shave and herding the best players to the FIBA World Championships, which by that time will be renamed the FIBA World Cup and presided over by Sepp Blatter.
Ralphie: I wish they would use college basketball players, but I think since they've already started using NBA players, they have to keep it up.
Joe: The use of professionals clearly tips the balance in favor of the US. But the argument goes that for years foreign countries subsidized their athletes in all sports--so what's wrong with our professionals competing. If you accept that premise, let 'em play.
Brad: I like to see a good game, so I guess I have to say keep using NBA players. However, I think that the Olympics should be for non pro players. The problem is that so many players are in the pros so young that it could be difficult to stick to just college players.
Chris: A gold medal or a World Cup, I’m not sure winning either would rival the plastic paradise I felt after recently discovering, 20 years after the fact, McDonald’s cups of Olympic late-editions Clyde Drexler and Christian Laettner. I was relieved to find these rare items, though, just thinking about them gives me the urge to go.
Try on a new pair of Sports Briefs with the Gab Four every Friday. Find out more about Joe, Chris, Brad and Ralphie, and read their solo columns on their individual pages.