If nothing else comes out of the US men’s basketball team’s loss to Argentina on Friday, at least we can hope that NBC and all the other media lemmings will drop the label Dream Team from future US national teams. I know David Stern makes calls to them before each tournament reminding them to use the term, but it’s ridiculous to continue to use it.
The term was coined for the 1992 team, which truly was a Dream Team. It was the first team to be comprised of almost entirely NBA players. It featured three of the best players in the history of the game. They were supported by a roster that included no less than seven other members of the NBA’s 50 greatest players list. Other than Larry Bird and Magic Johnson, the roster was full of players that were at the peaks of their respective games. And then there was Michael Jordan, unequalled in any era. Never again will there be a comparable confluence of history, ability, accomplishment, and moment.
It was dumb to call the 1996 team a Dream Team. Once again, the team was made up of some of the best players in the NBA, but the overall talent level came nowhere near 1992’s. It was asinine to call the 2000 Olympic or 2002 World Championship teams Dreams. It’s criminal to label this year’s team with that moniker.
What’s worse is the label now appears to be gender neutral, and the women’s team is automatically called the Dream Team. Now don’t get me wrong, the women are probably a better collection of the best talent our country can offer, and have been performing in a manner that at least puts them in the ballpark for that name. But quick, how many players off the team can you name? Maybe you got Lisa Leslie. I had no idea Sheryl Swoopes was on the team until today. Regardless, they ain’t exactly Jordan, Magic, and Bird, are they? Besides, if there ever truly was a women’s Dream Team, it was in 1984 when Pat Summit coached a team lead by Cheryl Miller and Lynette Woodard, the two greatest players the women’s game has ever seen.
So please, NBC and NBA, put your massive marketing budgets to good use and come up with some other clever way of referring to our national basketball teams.