It’s a debate that could rage on forever — who’s the all-time best in the NBA? Now, arguably the best non-active NBA player, is weighing-in.
In a promotional interview for NBA2K14 “His Airness” himself, Michael Jordan, told Ahmad Rashad he could beat a slew of former NBA superstars — including Julius Erving and Elgin Baylor — as well as some current stars in a game of one-on-one. (Via The Washington Post, Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame)
“LeBron in his prime, D. Wade in his prime, Melo. That’s a good start. I don’t think I’d lose.” (ViaESPN)
That’s a pretty impressive list. Of course he did throw in one small caveat.
“Other than Kobe Bryant, because he steals all my moves.” (Via ESPN)
Ouch. Kind of a backhanded compliment. But not out of character for the player many consider to be the greatest of all-time. According to Yahoo! Sports blogger Dan Devine …
“Jordan was, is and forever shall be one of the most maniacally competitive athletes we've ever seen. It would play completely against type for him to ever acknowledge that anyone else could take him down in a man-to-man, head's-up scenario …”
The MJ-Kobe comparison certainly isn’t new. The superstars’ resumes have been compared for years, and for good reason. (Via Daily Inforgrpahic)
A columnist for the Los Angeles Times writes “When watching Kobe, you often see a spitting image of Jordan. Their offensive games are eerily similar in makeup, sometimes right down to the number of dribbles they would take before a particular shot.”
The LeBron comparison is a more recent development though — and with different playing styles, a bit more difficult to make. James himself, who’s on the cover of NBA 2K14, did his best to sidestep the question. (Via 2K Sports)
He told ESPN “I've thought about the matchup, but no one will ever see it and it's not going to happen."
For his part, Jordan has a bit of a spotty history in one-on-one matchups outside of NBA games.
He notably beat highly-touted draft pick Michael Kidd-Gilchrist in a head-to-head-matchup earlier this year — when he was nearly 50-years-old. (Via NESN)
But he also got ball-faked by country-singer Kenny Rogers in a charity basketball game — when he was a bit younger. (Via YouTube / suellen Marjory)
Still, many think there’s not much of a debate to be had. A blogger for NBC’s ProBasketballTalk makes a simple argument in MJ’s favor.
“It comes down to this: If I need a guy to put the leather thing through the round thing, I’ll take MJ. And that’s what wins in one-on-one games.”
So, besides thinking he’s better than just about everybody, who did the five-time MVP and six-time NBA champion think was best between Kobe and LeBron? He said “Kevin Durant.” Of course he did.