Colangelo says 2012 Olympic squad “fair comparison” with Dream Team

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The 2012 United States Olympic team will land in London the overwhelming favorites for the gold medal.

But they will not just be battling Spain — the best team in their way and a legitimate threat — they will be battling history. 2012 will be the 20th anniversary of the original Dream Team — Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Patrick Ewing, Charles Barkley and more on a team that strolled to the gold medal and changed the trajectory of international basketball.

USA Basketball president Jerry Colangelo thinks the 2012 will be favorably compared to the Dream Team. He spoke with Chris Tomason of Fox Sports Florida.

“I think it will be a fair comparison with the Dream Team,” the USA Basketball chairman said in a phone interview Thursday with FOX Sports Florida about what can be expected from his team in London two decades after the Dream Team took gold in Barcelona in 1992. “Look at the progress our players have made since (winning Olympic gold in) 2008. We have some of the greatest players of all time.

“You’re hearing Kobe (Bryant) right up there with the greatest of all time. Dwayne Wade and LeBron (James) are right up there. You’ve got to add up the names, and you look at the young guys like (Kevin) Durant as an example and (Derrick) Rose as an example. There’s so many. There’s only been one Dream Team, and that’s the way I think it should be. But there’s no question our team will be much stronger than we had in 2008. They’re more mature, more experienced and we’ve got more talent.”

Team USA is going to have to be chosen without a training camp — rosters have to be submitted by June 20, while the NBA finals may not end until June 26 (they could end earlier, but not enough for a camp). We’ve talked before about some of the tough decisions in store for Coach K and his Team USA staff. In late January USA Basketball will release a list of 18-20 finalists for the team. In June, the 12-player roster plus up to six alternates will be submitted as the Olympics roster.

Team USA will open training camp in Las Vegas July 5. The Olympics begin three weeks later.