The 2012 Olympic team belongs to Lebron James and he will not be deferring.
The question of who is the best player in basketball always organically sorts itself out on the basketball court.
Back in '92 when many people (fans and analysts alike) were claiming that Clyde Drexler was every bit as good as Michael Jordan, the answer to that short-lived debate was found on the basketball court. Jordan so thoroughly demolished and embarrassed Drexler during the 1992 NBA Finals that the comparison was never made again.
With about 4 minutes left in a tightly-contested preliminary game against Lithuania, Team USA face a basketball situation that needed to organically sort itself out. Who would take over the game in the closing minutes? The team possessed four, maybe five, players that could take over a basketball game, but the question essentially boiled down to who is the best player on the team?
In the '08 Olympics when the team faced the same question late in the Gold Medal game, against a Spain squad that had just cut the Team USA lead to five points with less than five minutes to play, everyone deferrred to Kobe Bryant. He made a game-changing four-point play and took over the game when Spain had all the momentum and Team USA was falling apart. (Remember Spain got within two points in that fourth quarter).
During these Olympics Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony have done most of the heavy lifting for Team USA, but there is one thing that became extremely clear during the closing minutes of the close win over Lithuania: this is Lebron James' team. And this time around there would be no deferring. James scored 10 of the team's final 13 points during the closing stretch of the game to blow open a lead and put the game away for good.
There was not a moment during those final four minutes where James hesitated to take over the game. Kobe Bryant coule have gotten the ball. Durant could have as well. But in the closing minutes of a tight game, Team USA did not look anywhere other than LeBron.
George Monroy is a blogger that writes about sports, technology and movies. You can follow his movie blog at www.themoviegrind.com