(WASHINGTON) — Getting a firsthand look at the 2012 U.S. Olympic basketball team at an exhibition game against Brazil, President Obama Monday night praised the London-bound squad, but shot down claims that they are better than the 1992 Dream Team.
“This is a generational thing. I was around in ’92. I was a Bulls fan. S o I have to go with the original Dream Team,” the basketball-fan-in-chief told ESPN at halftime.
Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant ruffled some feathers last week when he said the 2012 team could beat the 1992 Dream Team, which included superstars Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird and Patrick Ewing. Among the players on the 2012 team are Bryant, Kevin Durant, LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul.
“This is a great team, unbelievable talent. Kobe is a competitor, so you expect him to do a little trash talking whenever the opportunity arises,” Obama quipped.
The president, however, is still confident this year’s team can go all the way.
“There’s no reason we shouldn’t bring home the Gold. We just have to stay focused,” he said. “One thing I’m happy about is to see how hard everybody is playing. You really get a sense of how proud they are to represent the United States.”
The president, dressed in jeans, a white T-shirt and a navy blue zip-up, entered the Verizon Center Monday night to cheers and applause, taking a seat next to Vice President Joe Biden and former aide, and former Duke basketball captain, Reggie Love.
After the first quarter, the president was joined by his wife and family. The president and Michelle Obama were quickly featured on the “kiss cam.” Obama, who sat with his arm around his wife, appeared not to notice.
The kiss cam later focused on the Obamas again. This time, the president leaned in and smooched his wife on the lips as the crowd cheered them on.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Shelbie Harris, Idaho State Journal
Stephen Collinson, CNN
Tom LoBianco, Deirdre Walsh and Tal Kopan, CNN