Hall of Fame power forward Karl Malone once picked his all-time team, and it caused a ton of “barbershop” talk among NBA fans and pundits at the time. Malone decided to pick his squad around two players he asbolutely loved, Oscar Robertson and LeBron James. He also rounded out his lineup with two-way star Scottie Pippen, dominant big man Wilt Chamberlain, and all-time assist man (who was Malone’s best teammate) John Stockton. Clearly, on paper and in terms of on-court impact, Malone’s superteam would be very difficult to beat in a 7-game series.
But we might have a superteam that could take down Karl Malone’s superteam across 7 games, and some massive names will be required to play with each other to make this happen. At the point, Magic Johnson challenges Stockton as they were the two best point guards between the 1980s and 1990s. Kobe Bryant brings the talent against an all-time great talent in Oscar Robertson, making this an exciting matchup on both ends of the floor. Michael Jordan has to be included because he is simply the best player of all time and the player who will be the man for his team in the series. In the frontcourt, Kevin Durant is chosen to balance out LeBron James because they both can play the position very well and bring different skill sets against each other.
The center chosen to battle with Wilt Chamberlain is none other than Shaquille O’Neal, arguably the second-most dominant big man ever. Team Fadeaway World will fight fire with fire, bringing O’Neal to the court against a ridiculously impactful Chamberlain. Seeing the two giants battle down low will certainly set the tone for the series, and will also make a ton of highlights. But will Team FW have enough to come out on top over Team Malone? Let’s find out.
Magic Johnson vs. John Stockton
Magic Johnson starts at the point guard spot for Team FW, although he will have no natural position because of his excellent all-around game. Magic will control the point guard spot a lot of the time but will be tasked with doing multiple things on the floor including rebounding the ball and defending consistently. A 6’9” guard, Magic will lead his team in APG and will be the perfect opponent for the all-time assists leader in John Stockton. As great as Stockton is, Magic is simply on another level as a dominant guard.
Stockton will not score as easily as Magic, but he will also lead his team in assists and control the offense with superstar players around him. By having some elite stars including Oscar Robertson and LeBron James beside him and an all-time great big in Wilt Chamberlain, Stockton will control the offense while also spacing the floor with excellent deep-range shooting. Stockton will also use his tactics to get under Magic’s skin when possible and also play the passing lanes to push the pace with LeBron and Oscar by his side.
Kobe Bryant vs. Oscar Robertson
Kobe Bryant is one of the best scorers ever, and he will elevate his game when he sees the likes of Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan beside him. Bryant always wants to prove himself in the biggest games, and he often came through. But surprisingly, Kobe will show more of his all-around game in the series to allow Jordan the space to be the number one option. Bryant will be the second-leading scorer nonetheless, and will also be a defensive nightmare for the opposition.
Oscar Robertson was the greatest stat-sheet stuffer at the point guard position ever and was the first player ever to average a triple-double in a single season, and he was also one of the greatest ever talents to pick up a basketball. To many who watched Oscar Robertson, he is easily a top-15 player of all time. The guard will bring his spectacular triple-double abilities to the court to give his side a threat in multiple areas of the floor, although he will have his hands full with Kobe Bryant.
Michael Jordan vs. Scottie Pippen
Michael Jordan will shine brightest in the series with 9 other Hall of Fame players. The legendary Bulls star will be the highest scorer in the series, averaging 30.5 PPG on 48.0% shooting from the field and 83% from the free-throw line. The superstar player will be very efficient from the floor, and that is mainly due to Magic’s incredible playmaking and also Kobe Bryant’s willingness to take a secondary role to allow MJ to lead the way. Michael will prove he is the best player in the series through his elite offense and clutch shot-making skills.
Across from Michael is his former teammate, Scottie Pippen. Scottie Pippen’s tasks are simple: handle Michael Jordan as much as possible. Pippen is arguably the greatest defensive wing of all time, combining size and length with elite defensive IQ. Pippen will also form a dominant duo with LeBron James and Oscar Robertson on the wings and will do his best to push the pace and wreak havoc on the defensive end by playing passing lanes. Scottie’s numbers in the series will pale in comparison to Michael’s, but he will be a consistent contributor nonetheless.
Kevin Durant vs. LeBron James
This matchup is simply too even on the stat sheet. KD is the perfect complementary piece to Magic, Jordan, and Bryant because he can play both on and off the ball. KD's ability to hit shots also comes into play, because he forces LeBron James to defend him tightly all game. KD is too deadly from the perimeter so James will force him to drive the ball early on in the game, which ends in the latter's favor.
Not to be outdone, LeBron's basketball I.Q. comes into play quickly and in a hurry when it looks like he is getting outplayed at moments throughout the series. James will live by attacking the rim although he will also find the likes of Stockton and Oscar for jumpers. The King knows he can score the ball whenever he wants, but opts to control the pace of play exceptionally well. KD gets the points advantage in some games but LeBron always manages to even it up because of his triple-double abilities.
Shaquille O’Neal vs. Wilt Chamberlain
Is there a more exciting matchup in the series than the one between the two superstar big men? Shaquille O’Neal will be critical for his side in battling Wilt Chamberlain down low and will take the game to the dominant big man. O’Neal loved games against other superstar players, and there will be a legitimate Battle of the Titans in the paint when he bangs against Chamberlain. Of course, O’Neal will also put up big numbers throughout the series.
Wilt vs. Shaq will be one of the most storied matchups in the series because Chamberlain finally competes against a player with similar strength and physical dominance. Wilt was not only powerful but extremely long and athletic and will give headaches to the Lakers’ big over the series. But Wilt will be a load to handle in the paint and will lead all players in rebounds with 22 RPG. Chamberlain will also go toe-to-toe with O’Neal on multiple possessions, making this an exciting all-time matchup.
Team FW Advantages
Team FW has elite shot-making, even better than Karl Malone’s superteam that is led by the all-time assist leader in John Stockton, Oscar Robertson, and LeBron James. Magic Johnson is arguably the greatest playmaker in NBA history, dominating the point guard position with ball-handling and basketball IQ. Thanks to Magic’s presence, shot-making won’t be an issue with the amount of talent on the roster.
Michael is the greatest scorer ever, Kobe is right there with him, and Kevin Durant is one of the most elite perimeter superstars of all time. Finally, Shaquille O’Neal will average 23 PPG in the series even against an all-time great center in Wilt Chamberlain. Team FW have 4 superstar players who can average 30 PPG in any series, and they will share the wealth in the series with Magic Johnson pulling the strings.
Team Karl Malone Advantages
Team FW’s squad has elite offense because they cover every aspect of the offensive game. John Stockton is a better outside shooter than Magic, but their main form of attack will be on the fast break. Stockton, Oscar, and Pippen are elite perimeter defenders, and the presence of Wilt down low makes it tough to fight for rebounds and score around the rim. Team Karl Malone will make the series interesting on both ends of the floor.
Scottie Pippen is also capable of relieving Stockton in playmaking, while also defending the likes of Jordan and Kobe at times. The duo of LeBron James and Wilt Chamberlain will be a massive nuisance because they can score anytime they want and also allow the shooters to do damage from the outside. Of course, they are the two most physically dominant players at their positions.
Who Wins A Best-Of-7 Series?
This series will come down to which players can make the right plays at the right times, and also which team can get critical defensive stops. Other than Game 2, every game in the series will be close with a 5-point margin of victory on average.
Game 1 is a fast-paced game, resulting in both teams shooting close to 47% from the field. Michael Jordan sets the tone early, dropping 10 points in the first quarter and ending the game with 35 points and also 11 rebounds. But Team Malone counters with efficient shooting as well, as Oscar and LeBron drop a combined 61 points on 55% shooting. Wilt Chamberlain also chips in 26 points, including a late layup to seal a 2-point victory in Game 1.
Game 2 goes to Team FW because Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant combine for a whopping 70 points on 52% shooting. The duo brings it on every level, from three, mid-range, and at the basket. The two guards simply do not let up, dominating the scoring charts and blowing out Team Malone. With Magic finishing with 12 assists, Team Malone finds it difficult to slow down the stars when they got going and lose the game in a 110-90 blowout.
Team Malone needs a response, and they get it through LeBron and Wilt. The duo combines for 55 points, 28 rebounds, and 16 assists, keeping the clamps on Team FW throughout the game. The three-point shot is key, as Team FW’s shooting is what keeps them in the game when a blowout looked imminent. The game is tied with a minute left, but a Kobe Bryant three-pointer just rims out, giving LeBron James the chance to ice the game. He attacks in the last possession, finding John Stockton for a corner jumper at the buzzer to steal Game 3.
Game 4 goes to Team FW because there is no stopping the shooting by the perimeter players in Kevin Durant, Michael Jordan, and Kobe Bryant. Kevin Durant has his best performance in the series, dropping 37 points on 6-12 from three and 6-6 from the free-throw line. Jordan and Kobe contribute 23 and 22 each, and Shaq also has a monster double-double with 20 points and 18 rebounds. There was little that Team Malone could do, although they have a lifeline in LeBron’s 30-point triple-double. The game finishes 105-100, with a late surge by Team Malone cutting the deficit from 12 to 5.
With the series tied 2-2, Team FW gets out to a convincing 60-45 start at the end of the first half and has to survive a massive comeback by Team Malone in the third quarter. Oscar Robertson notches a triple-double, Wilt Chamberlain drops his series-high 32 points, and Stockton finds Pippen for a jumper with 30 seconds to give his team a 1-point lead with 10 seconds left. A late Jordan jumper off a Kobe Bryant pass gives Team FW a 3-2 series lead. Jordan’s shot proves to be huge because that would essentially spell the end for the opponent.
With their backs on the line, Team Malone needs to force a Game 7 but cannot manage to do so. They have no answer for Michael Jordan, as the superstar drops 36 points and notches 6 assists and 5 rebounds. Bryant helps with 25 points, and Team Malone completely runs out of steam on the defensive end. Wilt does register 6 blocks in the game, and Oscar has another triple-double, but it isn’t enough. Team FW simply has too much firepower, with Magic pulling the strings extremely well throughout the game. Magic finishes the closeout game with 17 assists and 10 rebounds to go along with 8 points, but Jordan is the man for nailing the game-winner in Game 5 and also scoring 36 in the closeout game. Due to that, MJ captures the Finals MVP for the series.
Final Result: Team FW vs. Team Karl Malone 4-2
Finals MVP: Michael Jordan