Michael Jordan famously said that LeBron James wasn’t the only NBA player who could defeat him one-on-one.

Michael Jordan recently unveiled the name of the lone NBA star who could outplay him one-on-one, surprising fans with an unexpected challenge and it’s not LeBron James.

Eight years ago, at the age of 52, Charlotte Hornets players discovered firsthand that Michael Jordan still possessed his basketball prowess.

Bismack Biyombo, center of Phoenix Suns, who had previously served two stints with the Hornets, retold an incident that occurred before a recent game with Charlotte. In his recount, Jordan emerged victorious in a one-on-one match against the Hornets players.

Fans, players, and sports journalists often draw comparisons between Michael Jordan and LeBron James. These two basketball legends are considered the epitome of NBA history with many advocating for either of them as the greatest player of all time.

Jordan, however, once claimed his superiority over James in a one-on-one match. He asserted that only Kobe Bryant could outplay him.

Bryant entered the NBA scene with the Lakers in the late ’90s as Jordan’s Bulls concluded their dominating reign totaling six championships in eight years.

The budding star set lofty expectations for himself by modeling his gameplay after Jordan’s.

Although he couldn’t surpass Jordan’s historic accolades in the NBA, Bryant’s persistent efforts didn’t go unnoticed and are regarded as impressive within the basketball fraternity.

Jordan, in 2013, was questioned about his choice of one-on-one opponent from among the all-time basketball greats in their prime.

He listed several notable players including LeBron James, Jerry West, Elgin Baylor, Julius Erving, Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade, and Kobe Bryant.

“I don’t think I would lose,” Jordan answered with a grin, “Unless, of course, I play against Kobe Bryant since he’s copied all of my moves.”

Jordan meant this as a compliment, a fact Bryant accepted after catching onto his predecessor’s words.

In a tweet, Bryant referred to this as a “Domino effect”. He acknowledged borrowing some moves from Jordan and went on to say that the present generation has also borrowed moves from him.

Kobe and Jordan’s friendship amidst the G.O.A.T debate

Bryant’s ability to mimic much of Jordan’s playing style played a pivotal role in making their bond extraordinary. Initially, like a bothersome younger sibling, Bryant agitated Jordan.

However, their friendship grew mainly due to Jordan’s admiration for Bryant’s shared ardor as much as his shared skills.

Jordan, speaking at Bryant’s memorial service in February, expressed, “Perhaps people find it unexpected that Kobe and I were so close.”

He added, “But we were. Kobe was my cherished friend and was like a younger brother to me. Everyone relished bringing up the comparisons between us. I just wanted to talk about Kobe.”

Reacting to Jordan’s assertion about defeating him in a one-on-one encounter, LeBron James tactfully commented in 2013, “Indeed, I’ve contemplated the matchup.”

He continued, “But, it would never be seen. It’s not going to transpire. However, it’s enjoyable for people to converse about it.”

James’ statement mirrors his pragmatic view of the hypothetical situation and his understanding of the fascination it stirs.

LeBron James and Michael Jordan, universally esteemed as two of basketball’s all-time greatest, often instigate the debate about the G.O.A.T in basketball through their conjectural face-offs.

 

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