The ’90s might have been the greatest era in NBA history because it epitomized competitiveness and toughness on both ends of the floor. The 2020’s era might be the era where the majority of stars are incredibly talented offensively. They are smarter than ever and are professionals at getting points in the best way possible.
But which era is better? By pitting the best players from each era in a 5-on-5 matchup, here is how the incredible game plays out where only one winner comes out on top.
1990s Superteam: John Stockton, Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Karl Malone, Hakeem Olajuwon
2020s Superteam: Stephen Curry, James Harden, LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Anthony Davis
John Stockton vs. Stephen Curry
Many will place John Stockton below Stephen Curry in the all-time point guard rankings because Curry’s shooting makes him arguably the most unstoppable point guard ever. Curry is a problem past half court and Stockton will have to keep that in mind.
But Stockton is no pushover, on both ends of the floor. He is a stout defender and won’t mind being all up in Stephen Curry’s grill, and is a solid shooter himself. Curry will get his threes, but Stockton will hold his own and even out this matchup as much as possible.
Michael Jordan vs. James Harden
In possibly the most lopsided matchup, Michael Jordan will completely dominate James Harden. James Harden can get a bucket against any player in NBA history, but he simply won’t be able to handle Jordan on defense. As soon as Michael finds out about Harden’s defensive inefficiencies, it will be game over.
Jordan is the highest scorer in NBA history with his 30.1 PPG average, and he will show that off against a putrid Harden defensive effort. Harden will get his points and assists, and prove that he is arguably the best one on one player in history, but Jordan has the massive edge in the end.
Scottie Pippen vs. LeBron James
Scottie Pippen was ridiculed for once stating he was the original LeBron James, but he does have a point when looking at his skill set. Pippen was one of the most dominant small forwards in the league thanks to his physical prowess and passing ability, and he complimented Jordan very well.
But LeBron James is on another level. Anytime LeBron James is in a matchup with any player, he had the advantage. LeBron is bigger and stronger than Pippen, has a better outside jumper, and can do what Pippen did on a much larger scale. LeBron is the leader of his team and he will edge Pippen during the game.
Karl Malone vs. Kevin Durant
Karl Malone is one of the most consistent scorers in NBA history, thanks to his mix of automatic mid-range scoring and inside dominance. Malone will have his way with Durant in the post, backing him down and using a powerful frame to demand double teams.
But Durant will also have his way with Malone. Durant might be the most unstoppable scorer in NBA history and he will be able to break down Malone with dribble moves and also shoot over him. The matchup will be even but Durant is truly a special force who cannot be stopped.
Hakeem Olajuwon vs. Anthony Davis
As great as Anthony Davis is, he isn’t on Hakeem Olajuwon’s level. The Dream is a rare talent and we probably won’t see a big man with his skills again. The Dream has every post move in the book and has a way to dominate any game.
The Dream won 2 NBA titles during his career as the undisputed leader of his team, and Anthony Davis will have a hard time stopping him down low. Davis will get his numbers and prove that he is one of the most talented bigs ever, but he can’t match The Dream.
Both teams are exceptionally talented and it is obvious. All 10 players on the court are superstars and first-ballot Hall of Famers who have proven that can be the top players in the NBA at any given moment. But only one team has Michael Jordan.
Michael Jordan will have the single greatest impact on this game, followed by Hakeem Olajuwon and LeBron James. The 90’s Superteam is simply too dominant on both ends of the floor, and Michael Jordan will prove to be the best leader. He will score the most points for his team, get the most stops, and hit the crucial shots when it matters most.
LeBron James will be the best passer on the floor, even ahead of legendary passer John Stockton, but he will find it difficult to set up the likes of Durant and Curry in crunch time when the 90’s Superteam clamp them down. The 20’s Superteam are incredible offensive players, but there are too many defensive problems at the guard spots for them to make up. Harden and Curry will get roasted by Jordan, and eventually, LeBron and Durant will take turns defending the smaller Jordan.
With LeBron and Durant paying a ton of attention to The GOAT, there won’t be enough superstar power to handle Hakeem Olajuwon down low. He is too dominant and with Malone by his side, it will be game over. The 20’s Superteam keep the game close, but 90’s Superteam pull away with a resounding win with Michael Jordan being the Player Of The Game.
1990s Superteam vs. 2020 Superteam 107-100
MVP: Michael Jordan (45 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists)