I’m sure LeBron’s fans are already angry at the title of this article. They are furious that any group of players would be able to potentially beat the King in a game of one-on-one.
Well settle down.
Before I go further in to this article I want to clarify something. The players on this list would beat LeBron in their prime, clearly not at their age now.
Basketball has changed immensely from when it first began in the streets of New York. It has evolved, and the game has became very centered on shooting, and long range threes. Exhibit A, Stephen Curry. Exhibit B, Stephen Curry. Curry shoots the ball every time he touches it, which is something that isn’t necessarily a usual part of the game. His attempts are from very long range, sometimes close to half court, and he makes them, and this style of play is becoming more of the norm.
LeBron is a beast, no NBA fan doubts that, however his skill of playing one-on-one is a whole other game. It’s a measure of shot ability, tight defensive skills, and also the players’ ability to accelerate to the hoop. One-on-one is a great measure of a player’s versatility and this list is a compilation of some of the games greats, who would beat LeBron in a game of one-on-one.
These 15 players could take LBJ on the court, and maybe already have at some point in his career (normal games). Also some players on this list could win due to just an astounding height advantage. So yes: LeBron fans will read this article, get angry, and probably voice their complains somewhere. As always please feel free to let us know your thoughts in the comments below, and let us know if you agree with this list.
Here are the Top 15 NBA Legends Who Would Beat LeBron James One-on-One.
15. Charles Barkley
Barkley was very strong and agile so he could play both power forward and small forward. He could differentiate playing the “big guy” on the court, or play the role of a guard. He was the perfect mix.
I think he would overpower LeBron (in his prime), with speed and agility. He wouldn’t necessarily hit shots, but he would rebound and post the King up. It’s no wonder he is the shortest player in NBA history to lead the league in rebounding (14.6 per game).
So no, Chuck would obviously lose now, but in his prime, he would give LeBron a run for his money.
14. Reggie Miller
Miller was a prominent scorer throughout his career. He also was a prolific three point shooter, maybe the greatest to ever play the game; he currently is second all-time in three pointers made on the NBA records list.
Reggie Miller would beat LeBron by simply hitting shots, and with his dribbling abilities. I think Miller may even win this game by more than five points, because once he gets hot, he gets on a unstoppable streak. Though Ray Allen has surpassed him on the record list, I still am confident that Miller could take King James in a game.
13. Julius Erving
Known for his amazing ability to get to the hoop, and athleticism, I think Julius Erving would have kept it close with LBJ.
He had unbelievable ways to get to the hoop, and is tall. I think the Slam Dunk Contest champion would be able to shadow James, and do creative moves/dunks in his face. Considering he dunked over Abdul-Jabbar once, I do not doubt that he could have dunked over James. I predict a tight game because James can really hit the mid range jumper.
12. Allen Iverson
I think there is a good chance that Iverson would beat LeBron in one-on-one, due to the fact that he is simply one of the greatest dribblers to ever play the game. I’m also biased, as I’m a 76ers fan. Iverson’s the greatest thing that’s happened to us since…ever.
But in all seriousness Iverson also has a high percentage jumper, and his ability to drive to the rim at a low center of gravity would be tricky for James to defend.
11. Moses Malone
The three time MVP, and 12 time All-Star might have pummeled LeBron in a game of one-on-one. Malone holds various NBA records for rebounds, and at 6’10, Malone would rebound his own misses. He had tough physical play and was relentless on the court. Malone would take LeBron in the paint, and that would be the primary way to score.
I predict a 21-15 score.
Rest in peace to Malone who passed away earlier this year.
10. David Robinson
Known as one of the greatest centers to every touch foot on a basketball court, David Robinson would school LeBron James. A few of his accolades would include being inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2009, and as a member of “The Dream Team”. Oh and who could forget when he scored 71 points against the Clippers? For a seven footer, Robinson was versatile, he could rebound, and steal the ball perfectly. I think it would be a close one against James, but I would give Robinson a slight edge.
9. Oscar Robertson
The “Big O” was a 12 time NBA All-Star. He was called a “triple threat”, and could score inside, outside, and was a very good play maker overall. He averaged 30.5 PPG his rookie season. He would shot fake LeBron all day, and take it to the hoop on him. He could do stellar inside moves as well. The Hall of Famer would make it look easy against King James. This one could be a blowout.
8. Magic Johnson
Magic was the king of no look passes, delivering alley oops, and behind the back passes to teammates. He is roughly the same height as LeBron, but is a better dribbler. He would not just out dribble LeBron, but he would post him up, and shoot a skyhook over him for the win. I wouldn’t doubt a one-on-one victory by Magic Johnson over LeBron James any day of the week. Magic was the greatest Laker of all time.
I would predict a 21-13 score, maybe 21-16.
7. Earl Monroe
What Earl Monroe could do with the basketball would astound you. The legend would school LeBron with his dribbling skills, driving abilities and he had a great mid range jump shot as well. Monroe would beat LeBron by driving into him, and with his unique shot fakes he could post LeBron up; but his best bet would be to take it to the hoop and make some moves.
I would predict a close one, maybe 21-18 Monroe.
6. Pete Maravich
“Pistol” Pete is widely regarded as quite possibly the greatest dribbler to ever play basketball. He would break LeBron’s ankles, metaphorically, and would make LBJ fall, once or twice. I think Pete would trick LeBron, making him think he would shoot, then weave in and out with his amazing dribbling techniques.
Maravich would drive to the basket on James, and could pull up and shoot as well, but wherever his dribbling takes him would be his best bet on winning the game.
Maravich is also regarded as one of the greatest college basketball players of all time by ESPNU.
5. Karl Malone
At 6’9, Malone was a beast at power forward for the Utah Jazz and Los Angeles Lakers. Karl Malone and John Stockton were an absolute threat to the NBA, and were an amazing duo. Malone was also a member of the “Dream Team”, possibly the greatest team ever assembled. The Mailman had the most starts of all time, because he was a threat down low, and had a lot of speed on the court.
He would beat LeBron by posting him up, and working him in the paint. Malone could also shoot some mid range shots, but LeBron would probably swat them. I predict this one would go to overtime. (assume it’s win by two).
Final score: 22-20
4. Kobe Bryant
As the NBA says farewell to one of the greatest, LeBron must feel a little happy, knowing he won’t have to play him anymore. Kobe was a beast in the low post, and could make most mid range shots. He could rebound strongly, and dribble up the court, with one of his biggest strengths being hitting three pointers from the corner. Kobe just had too much agility for LeBron, and without a ref calling his flops, James would have some trouble with Bryant back in his prime.
3. Wilt Chamberlain
Wilt “The Stilt” is still to this day, the only player to ever score 100 points in an NBA game. Pretty unbelievable numbers indeed came from this guy, as he was a dominant force in his prime. He also led the NBA in scoring seven times and would have no problem rebounding on LeBron, and putting the ball up.
It would be a piece of cake.
Wilt could shoot low post hooks or jumpers if needed, but plan on him getting his own rebound if this were to occur. At 7’1, Wilt would dominate LeBron physically and mentally, and toss him around.
Let’s call it 21-14 Wilt.
2. Hakeem Olajuwon
Hakeem “The Dream” is one of the greatest basketball players that has ever lived (like everyone on this list).
The seven footer was a highly skilled as a defender as well as strong and quick. LeBron would be swatted if he tried to shoot a jumper over this guy. The Dream also was good in the low post, and would do a lot of different spin moves under the hoop, then dunk it through. Out of only one out of four players to have completed a quadruple-double game. His scoring abilities were hard to match in the NBA.
LeBron is kind of similar and they would match up pretty good. I think it would be close due to the athleticism, but Hakeem has the height advantage, and would take the game.
1. Michael Jordan
Ah, the most debated and compared person to LeBron; Michael Jordan. James is completely sick of everyone comparing him to this guy, but in his prime, Jordan would wreck James in a game of one-on-one.
There is no need to list this guys accolades, everyone knows what he has done, and where he has been. His clutch abilities would be the main reason for beating LeBron, along with his prolific jump shot as he literally was known to hit shots at the buzzer.
So maybe LeBron would have the athletic edge, but Jordan would prevail. He wouldn’t whine like LeBron or throw a tantrum, it just wouldn’t happen.
Michael Jordan would win against LeBron James 21-18, because Jordan will hit clutch shots, as he always did in his long and successful career.
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