Five Dream Teams that failed spectacularly

Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James said he wants to play alongside Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul and Dwyane Wade before their careers end.

It's a tantalizing prospect for basketball observers -- and likely a frightening scenario for players who aren't able to join forces with them. Still, a monumental collection of talent doesn't guarantee ultimate success. History tells us that lofty expectations, injuries and downright dysfunction can torpedo great teams.

So maybe LeBron should be careful of what he wishes for as we revisit five Dream Teams that failed to realize their championship aspirations:

2012-13 Los Angeles Lakers

The Lakers were two years removed from repeating as NBA champions when they boldly acquired superstars Dwight Howard and Steve Nash to join an existing core of Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Metta World Peace. Instead of returning to the top of the NBA, the team fired head coach Mike Brown after a 1-4 start and was later decimated by injuries. Mike D'Antoni replaced Brown, and the Lakers reached the playoffs as the seventh seed in the West before being swept by the San Antonio Spurs in the first round. Howard signed with the Houston Rockets as a free agent after the season amid speculation that he and Bryant couldn't coexist.

2011 Philadelphia Eagles

After quarterback Vince Young signed with Philadelphia to back up Michael Vick, Young infamously dubbed the Eagles as a "Dream Team." Heading into that season, Philly also acquired Nnamdi Asomugha, Jason Babin, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Ronnie Brown to bolster a nucleus that included Vick, DeSean Jackson, LeSean McCoy and Asante Samuel. Instead of winning their first Super Bowl championship, the Eagles lost four of their first five games and were 4-8 on Dec. 1. Four consecutive victories to close the season weren't enough to earn a playoff berth, and head coach Andy Reid lasted only one more season before Chip Kelly arrived and began overturning the roster.

2004 New York Yankees

Even by the Yankees' standards, the infusion of talent for the 2004 season was extraordinary. The franchise hadn't won the World Series since 2000, and it was determined to return to its rightful spot atop the baseball world. The Yankees added Alex Rodriguez, Gary Sheffield, Kevin Brown, Jon Lieber and Javier Vazquez to a roster already boasting Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada, Hideki Matsui and Mike Mussina. Holy S---! Few remember the 101 games Yankees won that year, as the team unforgettably lost the American League Championship Series to the Boston Red Sox in seven games after winning the first three.

2003-04 Los Angeles Lakers

After failing to win a fourth consecutive NBA championship in 2003, the Lakers lured future Hall of Famers Gary Payton and Karl Malone aboard to join Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal. Surely, the rest of the NBA -- and possibly the entire known universe -- would be punished for interrupting such a ferocious dynasty. As it turned out, a pivotal injury to Malone and eroding chemistry hurt the Lakers, who lost in five games to the gritty Detroit Pistons. Even the soothing Zen teachings of Phil Jackson couldn't detoxify a team fraught with dysfunction. By the time the Lakers tipped off the 2004-05 season, O'Neal, Payton, Malone and Jackson were no longer with the organization.

1980 U.S.S.R. Olympic ice hockey team

How dominant was the juggernaut Soviet team that lost in the medal round to a roster of plucky American amateurs and college kids? Consider that the U.S.S.R. had won gold in the four prior Olympics -- and in the previous 17 world championships, the Soviets had won 14 golds, two silvers and one bronze. Nevertheless, the Americans won 4-3 to pull off one of the greatest upsets in sports history. If you're too young to know about this story, school yourself and watch the movie "Miracle."