Shaquille O’Neal posted an unbeatable lineup this week which featured himself (of course), Kobe Bryant, Allen Iverson, Michael Jordan, and LeBron James. While this lineup features some of the best players ever and certainly looks unbeatable, there might be one squad that can challenge them. In truth, there is one squad that could actually defeat Shaq’s Unbeatable 5.
While a backcourt of MJ, Kobe, and Iverson is unstoppable on offense with the size of Shaquille O’Neal and LeBron too much to handle, there might be a lineup built around Magic Johnson and Larry Bird that can take down Shaq’s Unbeatable 5. It is very hard to find any weakness in this lineup but the only way to challenge them is by fighting fire with fire. Here is the Hall of Fame lineup that can challenge Shaq’s Unbeatable 5.
Point Guard: Magic Johnson
Allen Iverson is a handful on offense and might be the most unstoppable offensive little guard we have ever seen. The man is lightning quick, has supreme handles, and can finish at the rim despite taking contact. Built as tough as they come, Iverson was every defender’s nightmare. But if one man can make an impact on the game at the point guard position, it’s the great Magic Johnson.
Magic is 6’9″ and might be the best passer we have ever seen. He has the size to back down Iverson in the post to score, can be the guy hauling rebounds and running on the break, and has tremendous leadership skills. Magic’s ability to control the pace of the game and dictate where the ball goes will be the first step in taking down Shaq’s Unbeatable 5.
Shooting Guard: Dwyane Wade
Kobe Bryant is widely regarded as the second-best shooting guard of all time, and Shaq has the 2 best shooting guards ever in the same lineup. The most logical step to challenge them would be to include the next-best option at shooting guard, which is Dwyane Wade. Wade might not have Kobe or Jordan’s shooting ability, but he is one of the best slashers ever and can hold his own defensively. When trying to deal with Kobe Bryant, you must have a guard who can defend at an All-NBA level.
Wade is one of the best perimeter defenders in the modern era and might be the best shot-blocking shooting guard ever. Kobe will get his points, but Wade can get his on the other end as well. Wade’s slashing will keep Bryant working on defense which won’t allow him to completely take over the game. To manage Kobe Bryant in a game, you have to throw the best player you got and that is Dwyane Wade.
Small Forward: Larry Bird
Michael Jordan starts in Shaq’s Unbeatable lineup alongside Kobe Bryant and Allen Iverson. No surprise here, Jordan is probably the most common inclusion into any all-time list because he was simply the closest to perfection that we have ever seen. MJ will be a force on offense, and it will take a valiant effort on the part of any team to manage that. Jordan might be the greatest scorer ever and he is also an excellent defensive player as well.
The player that will be tasked with equalling Jordan’s impact is the great Larry Bird. While Bird isn’t a defensive stopper by any means, his impact on the game is on a legendary level. He might be the best pure shooter on the floor and has the best rebounding ability of any perimeter player as well. But the key to Bird’s inclusion is his overall impact and competitiveness. Bird loved trash talk more than anything, and that sort of attitude is absolutely essential to not getting completely outmatched by the talent and killer will of Shaq’s Unbeatable 5.
Power Forward: Kevin Durant
LeBron James is the best NBA player over the past decade as he had the most success and dominance of any player. His passing ability, size, and unselfishness on the court mean his impact on the Unbeatable 5 lineup is almost irreplaceable. But the closest player to LeBron James over the past decade has to be Kevin Durant. The lanky forward is a uniquely gifted player, who doesn’t have LeBron’s overall size and strength but matches it with tremendous skills.
KD might be the scariest scorer ever because he can literally shoot over players at his height, and yet also had the handles and explosiveness to create space or get to the rim. KD can also hold his own defensively, and he has had success against LeBron James in NBA Finals matchups before. While KD isn’t as great as an all-around player as LeBron, he is a better scorer and his ability to go off is essential for countering LeBron’s impact and the scoring of the 3 guards.
Center: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
At center, countering the impact and size of Shaquille O’Neal is a daunting task. He is regarded as one of the 5 best centers ever, and there was no doubt that O’Neal would include himself alongside LeBron James in the front-court. The only man that can measure up to Shaq’s impact in terms of all-around play has to be Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Kareem is arguably the most accomplished basketball player in NBA history, and he brings that level of dominance to help the likes of Larry Bird and Magic Johnson take it to Shaq’s Unbeatable 5.
Shaq can bully every NBA player that we have seen in the post, but Kareem can hold his own. He is a tremendous defensive player and a basketball genius who can bother Shaq and not allow him to get easy points. On offense, Kareem’s value will come into play. O’Neal is very athletic for his massive size, but he won’t be able to stop the skyhook. Kareem’s skyhook will be the key to getting buckets while the likes of Kobe, Jordan, and Shaq get theirs.
It is hard to find any team that can equal what Shaq’s Unbeatable 5 lineup brings to the table. With Michael Jordan leading the way, this lineup is simply too dominant offensively and will be impossible to slow down. The only way to counter this type of firepower is to match it with incredible offensive ability, marksmanship from deep, and an edgy attitude that breeds confidence. Magic and Bird are leaders of the highest order and they will not allow themselves to get overrun by Shaq’s Unbeatable 5 lineup.
They have their own superstar scorers in Kevin Durant and Dwyane Wade and quite possibly the greatest center of all-time as well. This game will not be a low-scoring one because there is simply too much firepower. In the end, Shaq’s Unbeatable 5 will always be favored and expected to win with all the scoring they bring, but only one lineup can manage to compete with them as close as possible.