Looking good, Everybody But Larry Bird. (Image via @2KSports)
Well, this is a neat little surprise.
Remember how for a little while there, folks were batting around the question of whether the 2012 edition of Team USA — led by present-day superstars LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant and Chris Paul — could have beaten the 1992 version popularly referred to as "The Dream Team," which featured legends Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird, and is widely considered the greatest team ever assembled in any sport? Well, in case you were under a rock for a couple of weeks (or got on Billy King's scotch plan to "Eternal Sunshine" the memories away), let's catch you up:
The discussion started when a reporter asked Kobe at a pre-London workout how he thought the 2012 squad would fare against the Dream Team. Kobe, unsurprisingly, said he thought his team would "pull it out," citing superior speed, scoring and wing depth. This, naturally, led to a slew of Dream Teamers, including the famously shy Charles Barkley, disputing Bryant's claim. Hoops fans all over the world, including President Barack Obama, shared their opinions on the topic, with most falling on the side of the '92 squad, which smashed its opponents by an average margin of 43.8 points per game en route to gold in Barcelona, compared to the crummy lil' 32-point average posted by 20-Doz during their 8-0 run in London.
[ Y! Sports Minute: Coach fuels Jordan-James debate ]
While chatter on the matter has largely subsided in the wake of another U.S. gold-medal win at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Wednesday has brought us a new fuel-for-the-fire nugget: "NBA 2K13" — the forthcoming annual update to the wildly successful basketball video-game series from 2K Sports, which will feature Blake Griffin, Kevin Durant and Derrick Rose on its cover and is being "executive produced" by Brooklyn Nets minority owner/hip-hop legend Jay-Z — will include both the Dream Team and the 2012 squad, enabling players to get their "Rocky Balboa" on and simulate the result for themselves (or choose their side and influence the outcome on their own, if they want to be non-scientific about it).
2K Sports shared a promotional image of the Dream Team lined up and ready to go on its Twitter account on Wednesday morning, dovetailing nicely with a story from SI.com's Sam Amick in which Jordan (as part of the 2K team announcing USA Basketball's involvement in this year's game) reiterated that he doesn't think "we would've had any problems with , as much as they think they probably would've given us a lot more difficulties." Promotional synergy, y'all!
The sharper cookies among you noticed that asterisk in the subject line and might be wondering what's up. Well, the whole Dream Team isn't represented in "2K13" — Scottie Pippen won't be included on the '92 roster, because he couldn't come to terms with the game's makers, according to multiple reports. (That's especially weird considering he was one of the all-time legends available for selection in the 2012 model of the game; you'd figure there must be some relationship in place there. But apparently, not enough to get this deal done.)
That's a bummer, both because it'd be nice to have the whole gang together and because Pippen was an integral on-court part of the Dream Team — remember, he led the team in assists, trailed only Jordan in steals and gave many European players fits on the defensive end in Barcelona. Luckily, I'm sure that as soon as the game drops on Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2012, about 300 enterprising fans will upload step-by-step tutorials on how to create your own Scottie Pippen to YouTube. They're helpful like that.
The absence of Pippen puts "NBA 2K13" at a significant disadvantage in its quest to be a better video game than the Sega Genesis classic "Team USA Basketball." Will the gameplay, graphics and music be superior? Only time will tell:
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