- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Olympic men’s basketball team is making its way to Washington, bringing with it an Olympic-sized, who’s-better spat between superstars present and past.

The team will arrive Friday and practice Saturday at the D.C. Armory and Sunday at George Washington University. The U.S. team will play Brazil on Monday at Verizon Center.

It will be without Clippers forward Blake Griffin, who aggravated a left knee injury during team training camp in Las Vegas and has returned to Los Angeles for evaluation.

According to a report by Yahoo Sports, Griffin was injured during a scrimmage Wednesday, a person with knowledge of the situation reported.

Anthony Davis, the first-overall pick by New Orleans in last month’s NBA draft, was named an alternate last week. He was scheduled to return to Las Vegas to join the team for Thursday night’s game against the Dominican Republic. Davis’ former coach at Kentucky, John Calipari, coaches the Dominicans.

The U.S. team already has created a social media debate about their place among the greatest teams ever, thanks to Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant.

In an interview with Yahoo sports, Bryant set off a firestorm by saying that this year’s Olympic team just might beat the original Dream Team.

“Well, just from a basketball standpoint, they obviously have a lot more size than we do — you know, with [David] Robinson and [Patrick] Ewing and [Karl] Malone and those guys,” Bryant said.

“But they were also — some of those wing players — were also a lot older, at kind of the end of their careers. We have just a bunch of young racehorses, guys that are eager to compete. So I don’t know, it’d be a tough one, but I think we’d pull it out.”

The Dream Team was the moniker given to the 1992 U.S. team, the first to consist mostly of NBA stars. The team cruised to a gold medal, crushing its opponents by an average of 44 points, and widely is considered the greatest team ever assembled.

It wasn’t a comment that former Dream Team star (and current Charlotte Bobcats owner) Michael Jordan took lightly.

In an interview with the Associated Press, Jordan said he “absolutely laughed” upon hearing Bryant’s comments, adding that there was “no comparison” which team was better.

“For him to compare those two teams is not one of the smarter things he ever could have done,” Jordan said.

• Carla Peay can be reached at cpeay@washingtontimes.com.

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