Lakers legend Kobe Bryant has said the US Dream Team days are over, and pointed to the high standard of other international teams Photo: AFP

Kobe Bryant says U.S. Dream Team days are over


Kobe Bryant leapt to the defense of the United States basketball team after their failed World Cup campaign, saying on Friday: "The days of the 1992 Barcelona 'Dream Team' are gone."

A Team USA missing their biggest names were beaten for the second time in as many days on Thursday in China and are left fighting for a best finishing spot of seventh.

It is a sorry end to a long reign over international basketball that brought three Olympic gold in a row and two world crowns.

There has been a strong focus on the likes of LeBron James and the other NBA A-listers failing to turn out for their country in China.

But Los Angeles Lakers legend Bryant said in Beijing: "The best players that you think, which is going to make the best players that you can put on the floor, you are still going to have challengers.

"It's not going to be a cakewalk."

The 41-year-old Bryant, who won Olympic gold in 2008 and 2012, added: "The days of the 1992 Barcelona 'Dream Team' are gone so it's going to be tough."

The star-studded roster that rampaged to gold in 1992 is frequently mentioned as one of the finest sports teams ever assembled.

The U.S., who had one of the youngest rosters at the on-going World Cup in China, now face a threat to their Olympic title in Tokyo next summer.

"It's not a matter of the rest of the world catching up to the U.S.," Bryant warned. "It's that the rest of the world has caught up for quite some time, to a point now where... we are just going to win some and lose some."

Earlier, a key member of the U.S. team dumped out in the World Cup quarterfinals hit out at "disrespect" and "slander" directed at the deposed champions.

Myles Turner of the NBA's Indiana Pacers made an impassioned defense of Team USA.

Writing on Twitter, the 23-year-old center said: "We came up short, but I refuse to tolerate any slander for our play, you cannot question our heart, our character or are (our) spirit."

Turner added: "Don't disrespect us, this coaching staff or USA Basketball as a whole, but respect the world basketball is an international game, these countries are talented."

© 2019 AFP

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

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I don't disrespect the team that are on the court now - winning or losing.

I do disrespect the large number of superstars in the NBA that aren't representing the US in these Olympic qualifiers.

The US has the potential for another "Dream Team" like team with it's plethora of stars but they're just sitting at home.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

i agree with the previous comment. if their best players keep missing these events, of course the 92,s Barcelona Dream Team days are gone. in fact, they disrespect their fans by doing that. i don,t know if it,s arrogance or vanity, but it,s not pretty.

i,m not saying it,s possible to match the quality of that 92,s Dream Team, but every year, USA is always able to at least get close to that...

i just hope that next year we can see the real American basketball team playing in Tokyo.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Geee, Thanks Kobe.

Keep living in the past.

Did you get tired of talking about your "Kobe-Shaq feud" from 15 years ago? Or are you getting bored about posting Instagram pics about your SEVEN YEAR OLD girl's basketball team taking fourth place with disdain. Now we are talking about how 2019 basketball is not 1992 basketball?

Instead of all this criticism, why don't you get in there, volunteer and help guide the young players to become better? Anyone can say these things on social media. Go out there and show them how it's done..........Black Mamba............

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Kobe helped lot of young Chinese and some East Asian boys back in late 90s until his retirement.

He is one of the most fascinating sportsman of his generation whixh is why he became a legend, so can't deny that, however it's better to have quiet life away from the media.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

however it's better to have quiet life away from the media.

Kobe is part of the media now. Heck, he even has a show on ESPN:

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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