David Robinson on '92 vs '12 Olympic team, Thunder, Olajuwon, LeBron & more


There has been much debate on whether this summer’s Olympic basketball team could best the original 1992 “Dream Team” which featured the best NBA players to ever grace the hardwood. Players like Magic Johnson, Patrick Ewing, John Stockton, Scottie Pippen, and Michael Jordan made up what is considered the best basketball team in history. That team also included San Antonio Spurs legend David Robinson.

Robinson, who won three Olympic medals, weighed in on the debate (started by Kobe Bryant), and surprisingly feels the 2012 Team USA could beat his ’92 team.

I give Kobe a lot of credit for standing up for his team. I think this team has some great players and some unstoppable scorers. They could beat us on any given day. But on the whole, I think there’s still some things they have to prove to themselves and everybody else.

I appreciate Robinson’s candor but in a 7-game series, no way this summer’s Team USA can beat the original squad. That ’92 team is just bigger and the ’12 team with Robinson and Ewing and not to mention they had MJ – the best player ever. No way would he let the ’92 team lose to the ’12 team. Sure, international basketball then was not near the same level as foreign teams are now but the ’12 team struggled versus Lithuania and will be tested in the knock-out rounds versus teams like Russia and Argentina.

And speaking of Olympic teams, Robinson spoke on the field of other teams who might challenge Team USA, including Spain.

There are some very good teams. Spain is an outstanding team that has played together for a long time. They’re not going to roll over. And there are a few teams like that. But with their athleticism and the mix of guys, we have to be the favorite.

This season was shaping up to be a championship year for the Spurs until they ran into a hot Thunder team and lost in six games in the Western Conference Finals. “The Admiral” gave his opinion on why the team lost.

They got as far as they did because they had great balance. The bench was giving them good solid minutes and points up to that point in the season. But for some reason, things started to fall apart against the Thunder. The first two games Oklahoma City was playing like last year’s Thunder, not moving the ball and playing hectic. But by the end of the series, we were the ones playing hectic and not moving the ball. The Thunder were the ones making the five good passes and attacking the rim. The teams switched identities.

If the Spurs want to make another trip deep into the playoffs next season, it seems they will be doing it with the same squad from last season. Something which makes Spurs fans uneasy since the team is still undersized and have not addressed the lack of a center and Andray Blatche may not be the answer considering he isn’t a “Spurs-type” player on and off the court.

But now that Robinson has been away from the game for a while now, he gets to be just a fan of the Spurs and the NBA and gave his thoughts on the team and his favorite players to watch.

You have to appreciate what LeBron [James] did in the playoffs. He was a monster. And also [Kevin] Durant. I watched him the series against us. And he hit shot after shot after shot. He was amazing. I love the way he plays. I was disappointed that Derrick Rose didn’t get a chance to do what he does in the playoffs. He’s one of the more fun guys to watch.

I’m most proud of being able to build something in San Antonio, from a 21-61 team to go to a team that won four championships and build such a culture. That’s something to feel good about. I feel that I can go back into that locker room and see that it has probably the best atmosphere of any locker room in the league. And that’s not easy to do. I take a lot of pride in that. Management went out of their way to bring in great guys. Tim [Duncan] fit that mold. All the guys, Manu [Ginobili], Steve Kerr, Danny Ferry, were perfect guys for the chemistry of the team.

Of course there is one blip on the radar for Robinson and his career that still bothers him until today – 1995 playoff series vs. Hakeem Olajuwon and the Rockets.

We had some times, when we lost in 1995 against the Rockets. That was painful. Hakeem [Olajuwon] was playing great and out of his mind. I was playing O.K. But not near M.V.P. status. That was probably the one time I was most disappointed in myself. But other than that, everything was phenomenal. It went along better than I could have scripted it.