Top 10 Players We’d Like To See Michael Jordan Play 1 On 1
We've all had discussions amongst friends over who would have given Michael Jordan a run for his money in a game of one-on-one. Most NBA heads would agree that MJ was so good that the next best thing seems to pale in comparison to His Airness.
I'm not here to dispute the fact that Michael Jeffrey Jordan is the best to ever lace 'em up. I'm simply here to talk about a topic Jordan himself has mentioned in recent days. A game of one-on-one. Jordan spoke of Who he'd like to play in a game mano-e-mano. Let's assume each game takes place while players are in their prime.
Here is a list of the top players we'd like to see Michael Jordan play 1 on 1.
10. Allen Iverson
Allen Iverson wasn't your prototypical NBA shooting guard. The Answer, as he was affectionately referred to, lacked physical size, but his heart and toughness won over fans around the league. Standing 6-feet tall, with lightning quickness and unmatched determination, AI took the league by storm in the late '90s and early 2000's, averaging over 30 points per game five different times in his career. Jordan would certainly have the edge in size, but Iverson's larger than life character would surely close the gap in a head-to-head battle. Remember, Iverson has already shown Jordan his crossover.
9. Carmelo Anthony
Melo's name comes to mind, solely based on size and scoring ability. There's no doubt in my mind that MJ would score on Carmelo whenever he felt like it, but Anthony's physical bully-ball, and finesse as a scorer is what would make this dual particularly interesting. Say what you will about Carmelo as a complete player, but his ability to fill the cup is undeniable, and standing 6-8, 230 lbs, as a versatile scorer, adds an element that Jordan wasn't used to during his era of basketball.
8. Dominique Wilkins
Michael Jordan was 27-18 versus Dominique in the regular season, so we've actually seen these two square-off against each other. I'd still love to see them match up in a game of one-on-one. Jordan averaged 31.6 points per game, while Nique notched 29.8 points per game in the 45 total times they faced off in the regular season. With numbers so close and size so similar, you'd think a playground game between these two high-flyers would be exactly what basketball fans, worldwide, would pay their weight in gold to see.
7. Tracy McGrady
Tracy McGrady is, hands down, one of the best one-on-one players (in his prime) that I have ever had to pleasure of watching. Again, standing 6-8, T-Mac brings an element to the table that MJ wasn't exactly used to in the 1990's. Pairing height and length with freakish athleticism made McGrady one of those scorers that simply gave opposing defensive players headaches. While I believe Jordan's polished game, and defensive prowess give him the edge, T-Mac would certainly pose problems for Air Jordan.
6. Julius Erving
Doctor J. was one of those players who dominated the ABA during the early 1970's, before bringing his talents to the NBA in the later parts of the decade. Julius made dunking look easy, and at 6-6, with crazy athletic ability, a one-on-one battle against MJ only seems like the proper route to go. Jordan's ball-handling would probably decide the outcome here, but there's no doubt The Doctor would dig into his bag of tricks to give the fans what they came to see.
5. Kevin Durant
Kevin Durant is the perfect scoring machine. 6-9 with the wingspan of roughly 20 yards (I joke), this young man would certainly give Jordan fits on the offensive side of the ball. Length, intelligence, and pure shooting ability gives Durant the sort of edge that no player thus far has had. Kevin has a build similar to Tracy McGrady, but a far more polished game to compliment his size. Shooting over smaller defenders is just one trick KD has up his incredibly long sleeve. Imagine the first time Durant breaks out the Euro-Step on MJ? Class has started!
4. Dwyane Wade
While Wade would have been closer to the size of guards Jordan was accustomed to during his era, the rest of Dwyane's game is more a product of this generation. Extreme quickness and athletic ability is exactly what Flash has hung his hat on during his great career. The three-time NBA champ has a little bit of Iverson to his game in terms of quickness and the "no fear" mentality that has defined his career up until this point. Like Jordan's match up with Iverson, he has the size advantage here, but Wade's eagerness for competition, and ability to get it done when it counts make him a worthy adversary.
3. Earvin "Magic" Johnson
Like Dominique, this is a skit we've seen before. Magic versus Jordan. Although, Magic had already been in the league for several years when Jordan came around, these two players do have a history. Magic, an oversized point guard, would have to use his skill to beat MJ in a game of chess. Michael has the athletic advantage, but magic was a savvy player, who didn't lack the size to take Michael head-on in a game of one-on-one. Magic wasn't the scorer that the rest of the aforementioned players on the list were, but his basketball I.Q. is where he'd aim to do his damage against MJ.
2. LeBron James
Michael says he'd beat LeBron in a game of one-on-one, and I'm not even here to challenge what he said. Although, I do believe LeBron would handle himself against Jordan in a way that nobody else on this list could. Jordan talks about the toughness players had to use during his era. He talked about being hit multiple times in the lane without whistles being blown. Today's game is different, and players like LeBron clearly benefit from the way the game is officiated, but we're not taking into account that LeBron and the other players of this generation would have played differently in Jordan's era. Just as Jordan would have played differently in today's game. This match up between King James and His Airness would certainly supply the fans with everything they could possibly ask for.
LeBron also said he's thought about a game against Jordan. What basketball player didn't dream of taking on the greatest? The bar is set with Michael, and it probably always will be.
1. Kobe Bryant
Michael says Kobe could give him a run for his money, because Kobe stole his moves. Now Kobe says the current generation stole his moves. Kobe says it's a "domino effect". But wait, are the moves this generation uses actually Kobe's, or are they Jordan's? I'm confused. Let's just say that Kobe Bryant is the closest thing to Michael Jordan that the league has ever seen, aside from MJ himself. But Kobe doesn't have to be the next Michael Jordan, because he's the first Kobe Bryant. Kobe is electric, and he's the only player on this list who matches up with Jordan neck to neck in almost every aspect of the game. Kobe can drive, shoot, post, D up. It's all there. I feel like this battle could wage on forever, and nobody would complain.
All in all, I feel like Michael Jordan is still the best to ever do it. I have to give him the edge in all of these match ups. Not to say they'd be boring, because I believe all ten of these players have earned a spot in this countdown for their own special reasons. All ten of these players have touched the league, and have given their own flavor to the game. I believe on any given day any one of these guys could give the greatest to ever do it a run for his money. That's why I love this game!
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