Arguably the 2 biggest brands synonymous with the NBA are Jordan and Nike. Jordan was based on the great Michael Jordan, a 6-time NBA champion who might be the most influential basketball player to have ever lived. Nike also has some incredible ambassadors, mainly Kobe Bryant and LeBron James who have a combined 9 NBA titles.
What if we were to place the best 5 players on both Team Nike and Team Jordan in the most competitive matchup in NBA history? With 5 superstars on each team, it is time to pit Jordan and Nike’s best ambassadors in an all-time great matchup. Here is how the matchups and game plays out.
Kyrie Irving vs. Russell Westbrook
This matchup features athleticism vs. exceptional scoring ability. Both players register their stats in the game, with Kyrie Irving doing his part in the scoring column and Westbrook dominating the boards. Both point guards are score-first players although they can create for others thanks to their exceptional talent.
In the end, Irving puts on a show and hits a very clutch shot late in the game while Westbrook impacts the game with his rebounding and athleticism. This matchup is otherwise even as their roles on their squads are more secondary to the other top stars in the game.
Kobe Bryant vs. Michael Jordan
The marquee matchup. Bryant and Jordan go head-to-head from the start of the game, and both lead their teams in scoring. Jordan and Bryant take turns defending each other and set the tone for both of their teams that no easy plays will be happening in this one. Whenever Jordan scores on Kobe, the Mamba makes sure he gets his revenge.
With Kobe and Jordan headlining this game, this is the game’s most competitive matchup. Different players take their turns defending each of them during the game, which allows both superstars to get their buckets. But in the end, there is only one winner.
LeBron James vs. Luka Doncic
This matchup is an interesting one thanks to Luka’s incredible basketball IQ, but the winner is always going to be LeBron James. The King is bigger and faster than Luka, and his passing will be key for Team Nike to get into their rhythm. James is exceptional in all aspects of the game of basketball and he will show it in this game.
Luka does his part with some highlight-reel plays, but LeBron James is too dominant in this matchup. James is the better leader and overall player, meaning he will be one of the most impactful players in the game and arguably the biggest challenge to Team Jordan.
Kevin Durant vs. Jayson Tatum
This matchup, after Jordan vs. Kobe, is probably the most competitive one. Durant and Tatum have similar playing styles, as they are both long and athletic forwards who can score in any way possible. While Tatum is not as accomplished as Durant and probably not quite as good, he holds his own.
Durant and Tatum are two of this game’s most dominant scorers and they will show their worth early on in the game. Both players can lead an offense on their own so it will be interesting to see how they do playing alongside other ball-dominant scorers.
Giannis Antetokounmpo vs. Zion Williamson
Giannis and Zion bring an exceptional level of athleticism to the game which cannot be ignored. Giannis is also a dominant inside scorer although his game is more refined in terms of his playmaking and defense. Zion is a monster inside scorer and offensive rebounder who plays hard on both ends of the floor.
In the end, Giannis has the advantage in this game. His defense will be the most important of his impact on the game because he can switch onto any of Team Nike’s scorers and is also his team’s best playmaker after LeBron. Zion is a consistent scorer so he keeps this matchup close, but The Greek Freak has the edge.
As expected, the game is extremely close. It will take more than the official 48 minutes to decide the winner because both squads have clutch players who perform best in the biggest games. Team Jordan combines athleticism with exceptional scoring ability, while Team Nike has a mix of the game’s most dominant offensive players. From possession to possession, the game remains close until the 4th quarter.
The 4th quarter starts with Team Nike leading Team Jordan 90-88, but Jordan makes sure that he does not go down without a fight. With Jordan scoring 10 points in the quarter, Team Jordan lead Team Nike 114-112 with 20 seconds to go. Durant gets trapped on the baseline, where he luckily finds Kobe Bryant to nail the game-tying jumper over his idol Michael Jordan with 0.5 seconds left. A late heave by Russell Westbrook is no good and the game goes to the 1st overtime.
The first OT goes much of the same, except Kyrie Irving nails a ridiculous fallaway jumper to tie the score with 1.2 seconds left in OT. Team Jordan fumble the ball and do not get a good shot thanks to exceptional defense by The Greek Freak on Jayson Tatum. 2OT is also close, except Team Nike actually has a 4-point lead with a score of 130-126 with 1 minute left. Team Jordan get 2 straight stops resulting in buckets, courtesy of a Jordan dunk-by LeBron James and a tough finish by Zion Williamson. Kobe Bryant cannot get his buzzer-beater to go, and the game goes to third overtime!
3OT is a slugfest, with neither team scoring the ball for the first 3 minutes. LeBron James is the best player in 3OT for Team Nike, as he registers all the points in the quarter with 6. But Michael Jordan, as he has been known to do, gets the biggest shot of the game with a contested 3-point shot after Kyrie Irving switches on to him. LeBron cannot get his game-tying three to go, meaning Team Jordan pull away with a 139-136 victory.
Nike Players vs. Jordan Players 139-136
MVP: Michael Jordan (51 points, 7 rebounds, 7 assists)
Credit for idea: S1cked1ts