Tuesday , Jul , 23 , 2013 Jahfree Duncan

Jordan vs. Magic vs. Bird at 50-years old. Who wins?

Everyone’s a baller in their prime, but who would win a game of one-on-one at 50-years old?

HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Some skills fade faster than others and by the time these three reached 50-years old this is a completely new game.


Statistically, these three are all legendary giants with the edge definitely going to Michael Jordan in his prime. Jordan is arguably the greatest of all-time with 6 NBA Championships, 2 Olympic gold medals, and 30.1 PPG. Plus, he took off 1998-2001 to play baseball (fiasco) and definitely could have added to his impressive hardware. I don’t think too many people would argue that if all three athletes were in their prime Jordan would win with it being a tossup between Magic and Larry to see who finished second, but at the age of 50-years old things have changed dramatically.

Remember, Jordan developed an adequate jumper throughout his career, but a lot of his game always relied on quickness and penetration. At the age of 50-years old, it is safe to assume Jordan won’t be driving to the hole. He’s still in good enough shape to get past Bird, but with all his walking around the golf course Jordan would have trouble getting past Magic who has maintained excellent physical conditioning into his 50s.

Of the three players, Magic is probably in the best shape with Jordan in second place. Magic works our regularly and although he’s obviously heavier than his playing days, he is still very fit. Most of us remember Magic as the spark plug of LA’s Showtime in the 80’s that lead the Lakers to 5 NBA Championships while averaging 19.5 PPG and 11.2 APG. The biggest advantage Magic would have at the age of 50 over both Bird is his athleticism and over Jordan is his size. He would be able to shoot over Jordan with ease. Bird can still shoot lights out as his recent demonstration with the Pacers showed, but he wouldn’t be able to stay with Magic or Jordan as far as lateral movement is concerned. Plus, Magic would be able to play stifling defense on Larry, since his drive wold be no threat.

Magic would win the competition because Jordan’s best offensive weapon (speed) would be largely neutralized with age, while Magic’s best offensive weapons his ability to shoot both a jump shot and baby hook in the post remain. Magic’s size would also allow him to get both shots off. Jordan was never the best jump shooter on the court and would struggle to get space to take it against Magic. Bird would likely finish last largely because of his complete inability to move. He would still get his points off of pure shooting prowess and would likely win a game of horse among the three of them, but this is one-on-one and both Magic and Jordan would have him looking like he was standing still.

Final results. Magic (1st), Jordan (2nd), and Larry Legend (3rd).

Photo Credit: Getty Images

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