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Can Today’s NBA Players Compete with the Legends of the Past?

Yahoo Contributor Network

LeBron James carried the Miami Heat to their second NBA title in franchise history during the 2012 NBA Finals, and he currently has his sights set on some more hardware. He'll represent team USA with fellow NBA superstars like Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, and Chris Paul, in his quest to secure his second Olympic gold medal.

The current USA team will be without the services of some of the biggest superstars in the NBA right now like Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Derrick Rose, Blake Griffin and Dwight Howard due to various injuries, but they're certain they'll be fine with their current squad.

LeBron James and Kobe Bryant have even stated that they think the current USA men's basketball team can compete with the legendary 1992 Dream Team.

"As a competitor you never want to say that you will lose, no matter who you are going against," LeBron said when asked about a potential matchup between the two squads. "The '92 Dream Team paved the way for all of us ... We understand what they did for our game, but we also are big-time competitors as well, so if we got the opportunity to play them in a game we feel like we would win, too."

The original Dream Team put up some historic numbers, defeating their opponents by an average of over 43 points on their way to the gold medal. We'll soon find out how good the current men's basketball team is, but they probably won't put up Dream Team type numbers. Not because they aren't as good as the original Dream Team, but because the sport of basketball has grown tremendously around the world since then.

NBA great Michael Jordan didn't agree with Kobe's and LeBron's assessment that they would have been able to compete with the original Dream Team, but I actually agree with "King James."

While I hold the original Dream Team in the highest regard, it's rather silly to think that a team made up of the best NBA players right now couldn't compete with their counterparts 20 years ago. Without a doubt, the level of play in the NBA has increased over the years, and today's basketball players are capable of competing with any of the past generations.

Team USA will suit up for the first time at the 2012 Olympics against France on July 29.

David is a Miami Heat fan that has followed the team for 16 years. Follow him on twitter @davidkingwriter and check out his blog.

Sources:

ESPN.com, "LeBron: We would beat Dream Team"

Player and game information from ESPN.com

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