Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Shaq Says the Dreamers Should Get Real: II Is Best Photo, Graphic

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Shaq Says the Dreamers Should Get Real: II Is Best Photo, Graphic

Article excerpt

"Those guys are on the right team, because they're definitely dreaming. Not only was Dream Team I better, but we could beat (Dream Team II) right now."

Michael Jordan, responding to Reggie Miller's idle boast that Dream Team II could beat Dream Team I.

Given the opportunity on the eve of the World Championships of Basketball to douse the smoldering comparisons between Dream Team I and Dream Team II, the never-bashful Shaquille O'Neal stoked the fire.

Dream Team I is widely considered the best basketball team ever assembled. It included Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Charles Barkley, Karl Malone and Clyde Drexler. Johnson was pondering coming out of retirement, and Bird was on the verge of quitting when Dream Team I swept to the gold medal in the '92 Olympics.

But O'Neal, 22, says, Dream Team II has youth.

As in Derrick Coleman, Tim Hardaway, Larry Johnson, Shawn Kemp, Reggie Miller and Alonzo Mourning.

"Any time a player is on a certain team, he's always going to say that team's going to win," said O'Neal, the 7-foot-1, 300-pound Orlando Magic center.

Yet O'Neal, who averaged 29.3 points a game last season, said he felt honored to be a part of Dream Team II.

"Our legs are young," he said in a teleconference Wednesday. "They're old people. We'd beat them best out of one, best out of three, best out of seven.

"Period."

And if there was any doubt that O'Neal was talking tongue-in-cheek the first time, he added in response to a question about Jordan's statement:

"That's his opinion."

And Dream II would beat Dream I? "Period. Point-blank. Don't ask me about it again. We'd kill 'em."

On to the game at hand.

Dream Team II, also known as the U.S. team in the World Championships today through Aug. 14 in Canada, plays Spain in the 16-team tournament tonight in Hamilton, Ontario. In preparation for that, Dream II played two exhibitions.

It beat a German national team 114-81 and a team of U.S. collegians who played in the Goodwill Games 113-75.

The favored Americans hope, daresay expect, to win the gold medal. …

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