Michael Phelps (Born 1985)
A Choice of Yours of this magnitude is the type of thing that comes along only once every four years. For real, this is on some “unstoppable force vs immovable object” type ish. Playing the role of the former is Phelps, you know, the guy whose eight golds in ’08 make up the greatest individual Olympic performance of all time, who also has more big shiny yellow things (14) than anyone ever, and who’s just a pair of top three finishes away from making history again with the highest career medal count.* And, if for whatever reason you didn’t know, he takes rips like he doesn’t give a fuck (and why would you, with that lung capacity?).
But this isn’t going to be a cakewalk, because the best team in modern sports history is cast as the stoic monolith in this showdown. While Phelps had a few close calls en route to his eight different prime podium spots, the United States Men’s Basketball team did everything long distance in ’92 Barcelona. Beating their opponents by an average of 44 points, the Dream Team, the first instance of NBA players participating in Olympic Basketball, was like the US bringing a pack of wolves to the puppy bowl. Their roster including Jordan, Magic, The Admiral, Drexler, Malone, Bird, reads like the all-time team in NBA Live. They were so deep that management told Isiah Thomas, a shoe-in Hall of Famer and cornerstone of two of the league’s last four champions to piss off- largely because half the roster didn’t like him- without missing a beat.
So, what’ll it be today folks? The shiniest medal case in Olympic history and the swimmer who shattered one of sports’ most untouchable records, or the roster capable of capturing our very dreams? From Beijing to Barcelona, and the water to the hardwood, once again, the choice is yours…
*OLYMPIC SPOILER ALERT*
Between me submitting this and its posting, Phelps has gone on to tie the record with a silver in the 200m Butterfly, then break it anchoring the US victory in the 4×200 Relay. So there’s that…- Pool Captain