Michael Jordan and LeBron James are considered the two greatest players of their generation. While each player plays the game differently, their dominance in the NBA is a reason why they're often compared to one another. Many claims that Michael Jordan is the greatest scorer and killer of all time, while LeBron James might be the greatest team player and all-around superstar ever.
What if both players were pitted against each other in a five-on-five matchup. Jordan would have four Hall of Fame teammates while LeBron would have his own four. To make things interesting, the four teammates will be the direct rivals of both Michael Jordan and LeBron James respectively. In a game with 10 Hall of Famers, here is the official game analysis until the winner comes out on top as the winner.
Magic Johnson vs. Stephen Curry
This matchup is a perfect case of playmaking and leadership versus outside shooting. Magic Johnson is one of the greatest leaders of all time and his pure size will be a massive factor in Team Jordan's ability to push the pace and move the ball for good shots. Magic also always rises to the occasion so he will respond whenever Stephen Curry gets hot from three. Curry is able to destroy any point guard when his shot is falling, but there is absolutely no way Magic Johnson will be usurped at his position.
Michael Jordan vs. Kobe Bryant
This is by far the most anticipated and closely matched position in the game. Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant are basically the same players which means they will take the game by the scruff of the neck early on. Whenever Jordan scores, Bryant will answer and vice versa. These two shooting guards will control the pace of the game and only one of them will be responsible for the final shot at the end.
Larry Bird vs. LeBron James
Larry Bird against LeBron James is the old school versus new school matchup by the two best small forwards in NBA history. Larry Bird is the original, winning three MVPs and four NBA championships over his career. Bird has the advantage over LeBron in terms of shooting and rebounding, but James has the edge and playmaking and overall athleticism. It will be hard to distinguish both players although LeBron James will have a greater impact on his team due to his passing ability.
Charles Barkley vs. Kevin Durant
This is a case of inside versus outside. Charles Barkley will dominate Kevin Durant inside the paint whenever he can, and even when he gets rejected by Duran's length, he has a knack for grabbing offensive rebounds and will finish with ease. On the other end, it will be nearly impossible for Charles Barkley to keep up with Kevin Durant. Kevin Durant will get hot at many points during the game and he will be a big factor in why Team LeBron will be very difficult to stop.
Hakeem Olajuwon vs. Shaquille O'Neal
This is a matchup that can go either way in any game. Historically, Hakeem Olajuwon got the better of Shaquille O'Neal. Hakeem's footwork and incredible intangibles allowed him to dominate Shaquille O'Neal, even when O'Neal has pure size and dominance on his side. Hakeem got the better of a young Shaquille O'Neal but this will be a prime Shaquille O'Neal. This means that this matchup is dead even and both players will cancel each other out.
Team Jordan Advantages
Team Jordan has a ton of confidence in the roster. Michael Jordan is the greatest player to ever play the game and he knows it, while both Larry Bird and Magic Johnson believe they are right behind him. Charles Barkley and Hakeem Olajuwon are the perfect pairing down low because their mix of athleticism, size, and skill means they can score and rebound the ball whenever they want. Obviously, Team Jordan does not have a single weakness.
The biggest advantage for Team Jordan is their size. Magic Johnson is a Goliath compared to Stephen Curry, while the two bigs will have their way with Kevin Durant inside. This will force LeBron James to handle more defensive responsibility, taking away from his greatness as a leader and playmaker. Team Jordan also has the best closer in NBA history and we all know who that is.
Team LeBron Advantages
Team LeBron is stacked with shooters. There is absolutely no way Team Jordan can keep up with Team LeBron in terms of sharpshooting, and then the attention that LeBron and Kobe Bryant attract will create a ton of open shots for Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry. We saw the damage the two shooters can do in Golden State, and they will overwhelm Team Jordan at times.
Even though Hakeem Olajuwon got the better of a young Shaq in past history, a prime Shaquille O'Neal is a different animal. Shaq's raw size means team LeBron can feed it into the big man for buckets anytime they want. In terms of shooting and offensive firepower, team LeBron is completely unstoppable.
There can only be one winner to this all-time great matchup. Both teams are fielding five Hall of Famers which means the slightest of margins will be enough for a team to win this game. And that slightest margin will be Michael Jordan's killer instinct. A prime Michael Jordan is the best player in NBA history and it isn't close. Michael Jordan dominated all four of his teammates throughout history and he'll have no problem doing it with Team LeBron.
Team LeBron will push the pace early to allow Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant to get hot in the first half. Team LeBron carries a 75 to 65 lead entering the third quarter as a result. Team Jordan will struggle to handle team LeBron's shooters, and massive adjustments will be needed in the second half. Magic turns it on and punishes Stephen Curry inside the paint, while Michael Jordan begins to heat up from mid-range. Not to be outdone, Kobe Bryant matches Michael Jordan as both stars score 12 points apiece in the third.
Team Jordan manages to come back and even the score at 100 entering the fourth quarter. There will be eight lead changes in the fourth until the final two possessions of the game. LeBron James runs a pick and roll with Shaquille O'Neal which forces Larry Bird to help. Durant drives and kicks to Bryant who nails a floater with 15 seconds remaining. After Team Jordan calls the time out, it is obvious which player will be determining the outcome of the game. Jordan, defended by Bryant, gets the switch on Stephen Curry and nails a pull-up jumper with 0.5 seconds left on the clock. Magic and Jordan run that play perfectly, giving team LeBron an almost impossible task beyond a lob to Shaquille O'Neal. A late heave by Kevin Durant misses the rim and Team Jordan captures a 127 to 126 victory in the greatest five-on-five game ever.
Final Score: Team Jordan vs. Team LeBron 127-126