Tyson Chandler: Center of Attention

Playing in London is a Dream come true.

Playing in London is a Dream come true.

The 2012 Dream Team came into the Olympics strong, but their game against Lithuania became a nail biter, with a final score of 99-94. Tonight the undefeated Team USA face another tough contest, this time against Argentina.  We checked in with the basketball squad’s center, Tyson Chandler, to talk about teaming up with his rivals, the biggest threats to their quest for gold, and how the 2012 roster would do against the Dream Team.

So, one game down, seven to go. You guys must be pretty confident given all the talent on the team.

Yeah, we feel good with our chances. With LeBron, Melo, Deron Williams, Chris Paul, young Russell, Kevin Durant…At each position we’ve got guys who feel like they’re the best. When you’ve got all these guys pushing one another, it makes the team that much better.

This is your first Olympics. How does it feel to represent America?

It’s such a great experience. When we came in, we understood that while we’re playing for one another, it’s bigger than us: We’re playing for our country.

The international game has gotten so much more competitive since the original Dream Team won gold in ’92. Which teams are you most concerned about?

I wouldn’t say I’m necessarily concerned about any of them, but there are definitely some great teams we have to go up against. Spain, France, Argentina. The thing about the Olympics is these guys play so well together. You know, they’ve played together for so long that they really understand each other.

Why do you think these other countries have closed the gap?

I think when the Dream Team came together they sparked a lot of interest in a younger generation that wanted to pick up a ball and play. Now years down the road, you’ve got Dirk Nowitski, Marc and Pau Gasol. All these guys that I’m sure watched back in ’92, and were inspired by it, and now they’re playing.

The Dream Team is considered the best collection of basketball talent ever. How do you think you guys would fair against them?

Obviously there’s no way to turn back the hands of time, but I’d like to think we’d match up pretty well. I don’t know who would win, but it would be one great game.

One thing people forget is that Magic Johnson and Larry Bird were way past their primes in ’92, and you guys seem a lot more athletic.

Well, the game is different now, but those guys could’ve played in any game in any era. But I also think because some of those guys were at the end of their careers, it made it an even better experience for them. There’s nothing like Team USA.

Tune in tonight to watch Dream Team 2012 face off against Argentina!