Michael Jordan was and will always be the greatest player in the history of basketball, there’s no debate to that, there’s no argument to that, that’s just the way it is.
Basketball is measured in before Jordan and after Jordan, as he’s been the major point of reference for fans of this beautiful sport ever since leading the Chicago Bulls to 6 Championships.
Most ballers nowadays grew up watching Jordan and wanting to be just like him, but a handful of active players were actually lucky enough to suit up and play against him before his second retirement in 2003. Today, we’re going to let you know about the active veterans that played vs His Royal Airness.
I will not count Jason Terry, Joe Johnson and Nene because they didn't play this season so far.
7. Jamal Crawford
Jamal Crawford entered the league in 2000 and was a bit of a late bloomer, but ever since he established himself as a scorer, he became one of the best sixth men in the history of the league.
Crawford was drafted by the Bulls and spent 4 seasons there, so he had the privilege to go at it against Jordan several times, and he definitely learned a thing or two from the greatest scorer ever.
6. Tyson Chandler
Tyson Chandler was taken 2nd overall in 2001, so he’s been around for a while now. He was once one of the league’s most dominant defenders and a guy that had the chance to play against Jordan when the Wizards faced the Bulls.
Chandler then would go on to play for New Orleans, Charlotte, Dallas, New York and Phoenix, and has just signed a deal to join the Lakers to try and fix the defensive woes that have hurt them so much.
5. Zach Randolph
Zach Randolph was taken with the 19th overall pick of the 2001 NBA Draft by the Trail Blazers and, following several off-court incidents, he finally established himself as one of the league's best offensive rebounders and inside scorers.
Randolph had the chance to face His Royal Airness as a member of the ‘Jail Blazers’, where he played 6 years before heading to the Knicks, Clippers and Grizzlies. Nowadays, he’s mentoring the Kings’ young frontcourt.
4. Vince Carter
Vince Carter is one of the two players from the 1998 class that’s still balling and he has shown no signs of having the desire to retire anytime soon, mentoring the young Atlanta Hawks this season.
Carter spent 6 years with the Toronto Raptors before being traded to the Nets, so he couldn’t play against Jordan when he was still with the Bulls, but at least got the chance to face him a couple times later.
3. Pau Gasol
Pau Gasol made his professional debut with the Memphis Grizzlies back in 2001, so he actually had the chance to play several times against the Black Cat. Now, at age 38, he’s still balling for the Spurs.
Gasol is one of the most durable players ever as he rarely misses time with injury, he’s always been a productive scorer and rebounder, and will go down as one of the best foreign players in NBA history.
2. Tony Parker
Tony Parker is also a part of the class of 2001, being taken 28th overall by the San Antonio Spurs as one of the biggest steals in NBA Draft history, as he lead them to 4 rings as their starting point guard.
Parker won’t be the most athletic, strong or fast player in the league, but he made up for that with top-notch craftiness and basketball IQ. Now, he’s playing precisely for Michael Jordan’s Hornets after playing against him, but we can’t get used to that look.
1. Dirk Nowitzki
Dirk Nowitzki is the only other active player from that 1998 class. He was such a late bloomer but ever since he established himself as a scorer, he became the best shooting big man this game has ever seen.
Nowitzki played against Jordan a couple of times and he actually has a chance at breaking his scoring record, as he’s just 1105 points shy of tying him. Basically, he just needs to average 13 points per game for a full season and that’s it.