Larry Bird admitted that the 1960 US Men’s basketball team was “a hell of a lot tougher” than the Dream Team

While the Dream Team featuring Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, Clyde Drexler, Magic Johnson, and Patrick Ewing among more stars, is widely regarded as the greatest basketball team ever assembled, they themselves drew inspiration from their predecessors – the 1960 US Men’s Basketball Team. The latter squad included talents like Bob Boozer, Jerry West, Oscar Robertson, and Jerry Lucas, all of whom left a mark in basketball history.

While both teams made a name for themselves as the most skilled and physically dominant winning units, Larry Bird didn’t shy away from accepting the harsh truth when comparisons between the two commenced.

The 1960 US Men’s Basketball Team was a powerhouse

The Dream Team’s dominance in Barcelona is well-documented. They instilled fear in their opponents’ hearts and consistently outperformed them, winning their opening game against Angola by a staggering 68 points. Moreover, throughout the tournament, they maintained an impressive scoring average of 117.2 points per game while containing their opponents to no more than 85 points in any single contest.

On the other hand, the 1960 US Men’s Team, though less celebrated, was equally formidable. They exhibited speed, endurance, agility, and exceptional two-way players. To top it all, they even had suffocating defense and superior rebounding skills. For those unaware, they averaged 102 points and held their opponents to below 60 points.

While the Dream Team was a roster filled with NBA superstars, the 1960 US Men’s Basketball Team had players who were yet to step foot on the professional stage, the team still boasted five players who averaged points in double digits. As a result, they went undefeated 8-0 and won the gold medal

Larry Bird admitted to the harsh truth

As both the Dream Team and the 1960 US Men’s Basketball Team were set to be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame, a notable debate emerged regarding their respective strengths. Moses Malone boldly asserted that the Dream Team would beat the 1960 squad by a margin of 20 points, a claim that The Logo vehemently denied.

When Bird was asked to weigh in on the situation, he acknowledged the exceptional resilience and skill of that team. Additionally, he also addressed how West & Co. attained success without any luxuries or amenities – something that his Dream Team had in abundance.

“I don’t know who had the best team, but I know the team in 1960 was a hell of a lot tougher than we were,” Bird said as quoted by Yahoo Sports. “Because I couldn’t imagine the ’92 team getting in them covered wagons for eight days, going across the country, jumping in the Atlantic Ocean, swimming for six days, then walking 3,000 miles to the Colosseum in Rome.

That being said, while the world may have not fully recognized the dominance of Coach Pete Newell’s team, Larry Legend understood the challenges they overcame to reign supreme.