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Jordan, Magic vs. Kobe, LeBron: Who wins?

August 19, 2008 |  2:36 am

Magic Johnson, right, and Charles Barkley go for a tip-in during the 1992 Olympic gold-medal game against Croatia.BEIJING -- During the height of the Shaq-Kobe partnership/rivalry, NBA Commissioner David Stern was asked which teams he would like to see in the finals and famously answered, "The Lakers vs. the Lakers.''

Joking aside, Stern was asked by the Associated Press here Tuesday who would win a match between the Dream Team of 1992 and the Redeem Team of 2008.

"I'd actually pay to buy a ticket for that one,'' he said.

The Associated Press inferred from further comments that he would take the '92 team because of the front court of David Robinson, Karl Malone and Patrick Ewing.

That '92 team, the first in the Olympics involving NBA players, averaged 117.25 points a game and had its closest game in the final, a 117-85 victory over Croatia.

The 2008 team hasn't been quite as dominant, perhaps because the rest of the world has gotten better and perhaps because it has eased up on some teams, such as Angola. The team is averaging 103 points. Its closest margin of victory was against Angola, 21 points. The United States beat Greece by 23.

Since then, the Redeemers have been rolling like it was '92, by 37 over Spain and 49 over Germany.

Just me speaking, I'd still rather see the Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Charles Barkley, Malone team play.

But this team, with Kobe and LeBron and Dwyane Wade, might someday be considered on a similar plane.

-- Randy Harvey

Photo: Magic Johnson, right, and Charles Barkley go for a tip-in during the 1992 Olympic gold-medal game against Croatia. Credit: Los Angeles Times