Let's set something straight before we get started:
Kobe Bryant's comments about the 1992 "Dream Team" were not that strong.
"I don't know," Bryant said when asked if today's US basketball squad could beat the first batch of pros to play in the Olympics. "It'd be a tough one, but I think we'd pull it out."
Bryant should feel that way. He's going for Olympic gold. It's his duty to think he and his teammates are the best in the world - not just now, but maybe ever. This is no time to consider defeat.
And it's that type of swagger that helped Bryant lift his Lakers to five NBA titles. You know the story: He's ultra-talented, possesses a killer instinct and a relentless work ethic. Even at the age of 33, Bryant may still be the game's best all-around player.
So his comments about beating the Dream Team made sense. It was just Kobe being Kobe. It's why fans embrace him. In an era when players too often treat the league like an AAU circuit by offering the opposition handshakes, hugs ...