One of the hallmarks of the original Dream Team was the sheer awe with which the rest of the world held the American stars. Whether it was Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird or any of the other team members (with the possible exception of Christian Laettner, and John Stockton, who famously wasn't even recognized by American fans on the streets of Barcelona), teams lined up to be obliterated by the greatest collection of basketball players ever assembled, then scrambled to get their autographs.
It's hard to blame those 1992 also-rans. After all, if you had just been dunked on by Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley, wouldn't you at least think of asking for an autograph on your headband?
Now the current crop of Olympic NBA All-Stars is earning similar treatment, with a Tunisian player pulling off his shoe and asking Kobe Bryant to sign it as the two met up in the postgame handshake line following Team USA's 110-63 throttling of the overwhelmed Tunisians.
[ Related: U.S. overcomes slow start to hammer Tunisia ]
While some might point to that final score and call it a total shellacking, Tunisia actually covered the 55-point point spread that Las Vegas and other betting experts had predicted for the U.S. in the game. As Fourth-Place Medal and Ball Don't Lie's own Kelly Dwyer noted, that was partly due to another slow start by the Americans, but still, final scores don't lie, and a 47-point loss might have been enough to qualify as a moral victory for the Tunisians.
Could that have been the reason Tunisian forward Mohamed Hdidane, who plays in Tunisia's domestic league, wanted Kobe's autograph commemorating his game-worn kicks? Possibly, but it's more likely that he just wanted it to accessorize with the Kobe poster that hangs somewhere in his room back home.
Either way, Hdidane may have just provided the seminal moment cementing the current Team USA's uber-fame status in London. There are plenty of larger-than-life celebrities competing around the British capital city during these Games, but so far the likes of Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte, Missy Franklin and Ye Shiwen haven't signed any vanquished foe's swimsuit, at least so far as Fourth-Place Medal has noticed.
Related Olympics coverage on Yahoo! Sports:
More Olympics coverage on Yahoo! Sports:
• Rivers as Team USA's next hoops coach? Solid choice
• Kobe in hot water with wife over questionable internet photo
• Franklin excited about Bieber's congratulatory tweet