A video went viral recently where Michael Jordan drained 11 jump shots in a row for one of his youth camps. Clearly, the best player that has ever played the game still has a lot of game left in the tank. Even north of fifty-years old, Jordan’s desire to entertain and put on performances for tantalizing crowds has not ceased. His competitive nature is unparalleled and his love for the game has not wavered a single bit.
Jordan’s career averages are 30.1 points per game, 6.2 rebounds per game, and 5.3 assists per game. He had nearly a 50% field goal shooting percentage and even shot 50% from the 3-point line one year. He was College Player of the Year in ’83-’84, Rookie of the Year in ’84-’85, Defensive Player of the Year in ’87-’88, a five-time MVP, six-time Finals MVP, and six-time NBA Champion. He has made the All-NBA First Team 10 times and the All-Defensive Team nine times. Jordan was a two-way player with no weaknesses in his game. He had the best characteristics of the best players to ever play the game, which is what makes him the greatest.
So, having said all that, who are some of the players that could possibly beat Jordan in a one-on-one matchup? A game of 5-on-5 is very different from a game of 1-on-1. In a game of 1-on-1, there is no help side defense, a center grabbing the rebound for you, or anyone to bail you out from over penetrating with a pass to the three-point line.
To win a game of one-on-one means you have to be able to do it all: shoot, rebound, play defense, and most of all, be able to create your own shot. And to beat the best basketball player of all-time means that you have to do all of these things fairly well.
This is a list of the top-ten players of all-time that have the capability of beating MJ one-on-one. No guarantees that they would win, just a possible occurrence!
10 Vince Carter
9 Carmelo Anthony
8 Jamal Crawford
7 Tracy McGrady
6 Mitch Richmond
5 Dwyane Wade
4 Scottie Pippen
3 Kevin Durant
2 LeBron James
1 Kobe Bryant
Kobe is the closest thing that we may ever see to Michael Jordan. Kobe has always been compared to MJ his entire career. The five-time champion stands at 6’6” just like MJ, has won the dunk contest just like MJ, and has played for Phil Jackson just like MJ. Kobe’s career pretty much parallels Michael’s game in every facet. But what makes these two shooting guards even more similar is not their careers, but their games. Kobe has long studied Jordan’s jumper, fade-aways, and even footwork. In many ways, Kobe has the edge on Jordan because he was able to study all of Jordan’s moves, but Jordan was never able to study Kobe’s moves.
Kobe simply has no weaknesses in his game. In the ’05-’06 season he averaged 35.4 points per game and has led the league in scoring twice. It is no coincidence that he made the All-NBA first team 10 times. But Kobe is not only an offensive weapon. He made the All-Defensive First Team nine times as well. Do you know how many times Jordan made the All-Defensive First Team? Nine times. Jordan and Kobe are nearly identical in everything. In fact, later on in Kobe’s career, he also developed a post-game, very similar to Jordan during the latter stages of his career.
I’m not sure who would a single game of one-on-one, but if they played 10 games of one-on-one, chances are it would be split down the middle. However, one thing is for sure, it would be something that we’d all pay a lot of money to see.
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