For my blog I will be doing what I will call Saturday Six, where I will list a top 6 for various topics in sports. Hopefully it will be enjoyed by all that read it. I’ve decided to start it off with a top 6 of epic proportions, the top 6 dream match ups in a 1on1 game of basketball between any former or current NBA Players. These are my opinions and I expect some people to disagree (and if you do, feel free to leave your thoughts or more worthy match ups in the comments). So lets begin, shall we? In Reverse order….
Jerry West Vs Allen Iverson
This would have been a really great battle between two very good guards from NBA History. Jerry West is one of the greatest defenders in history (same is true of AI,) but I think Iverson is one of the very few that would have just driven West literally insane with his handles. I feel also though that West was a good enough ball handler as well that he would not be turning it over repeatedly to Iverson like some other possible matchups. This would be a very very intriguing match up in their primes I think. In the end, I give West the very miniscule slight edge in 1on1 just because of his fundamentals over Iverson. I think AI would probably throw up some crazy shots and against a man like West that would cost him.
Oscar Robertson Vs Lebron James
Most people my age and younger will think, “How can you match Lebron up with anyone but Jordan?? The two greatest of all time!” FALSE. Both are extremely good basketball players, but don’t believe all the hype with either one. It’s not a “No-Contest” situation with Jordan being the greatest of all time, and Lebron certainly has not accomplished enough in his career to be considered in the discussion. Someday he might be there, but not yet (and I have my doubts). Oscar Robertson though, without a doubt top 5, no matter who is in your top 5. There’s really nothing anybody can do either to knock Oscar out of the top 5, he was just incredible. A triple double per game for a whole season, think about that for a second….We are a month and a half into this season and Lebron just finally got to double digits in rebounds in a game for the first time tonight, almost a quarter of the way through the season. That’s just for some perspective. Now to the business at hand, the 1on1 match up of the two. No question Oscar would have difficulties guarding Lebron, who has 3 inches and a minimum of 30 lbs (probably closer to 45 in honesty) on the ‘Big O’. Both have individual career highs of 56 points in a single game, so I think the scoring would be about even. I really think this one comes down to whether or not there’s a 3 pt line in their match up. Assuming there is, then Oscar would win the match up because he has a better accuracy from range. Without a 3 pt line though, I think lebron does a lot of post ups on Robertson and wins a very tightly contested battle that way. Would be an incredible 1on1 battle!
Kareem Vs Olajuwon
This is another one that would just be EPIC. Olajuwon’s moves were incredible, and without question one of the toughest big men in history to guard, but Kareem had the shot that was impossible to guard, the Skyhook. Kareem gets the slight advantage as being a better scorer (top all time in history, as far as total points go. Most assume that’s from his longevity, and that’s definitely a part of that record, but he could fill up the basket like very few others). In this match up, I feel Kareem wins it, but it would be very competitive and close. The Skyhook is the biggest difference, as it would be in any match up involving Big Lew.
Pete Maravich Vs Kobe Bryant
The first of two battles featuring Kobe, and most people are sadly probably thinking “Who the heck is the skinny white guy?” Well, he is one of the greatest ball players of all time, ‘Pistol’ Pete Maravich. In his prime, he was every bit the scorer that Kobe was in his prime (maybe even better). Kobe Bean certainly gets the nod defensively, which is not up for debate, but Maravich would score more than his share on Kobe. This is another case of wondering how a 3 pt line changes things. In his college career, long before the 3 pt line was in existence, Maravich utilized deep shots that only counted for 2 pts at the time, but it was later calculated by watching game films by Dale Brown, former LSU coach, that if the college 3pt line had existed in Maravich’s time, he would have averaged around 57 ppg (according to Brown Maravich’s game charts showed an avg of 13 3pt FGs made per game). So yeah, that would definitely be a challenge for Kobe to stop. Unfortunately for Pistol though, Kobe has his range, and would dominate him on the inside. Kobe wins, but it’d be an awesome match up.
Kobe Bryant Vs Michael Jordan
This is the match up that every modern fan dreams about, in huge part due to the that the media has hyped up Jordan to something even greater than he was (Not saying he wasn’t great, but the media helps him a lot) and also because Kobe has been the one around to be hyped as a rival for Jordan since 96. Anyways, there’s no doubt this would be a great match up. I think that Kobe has the advantage as far as ball handling, but Jordan is the better defender. I think this would come down to the last shot, and I think it goes either way. Tonight I feel like I will pick Jordan, but that could change day to day.
Shaquille O’Neal Vs Wilt Chamberlain
This would be the Clash of Titans people. Shaq vs Wilt. As long as it’s not a free throw shoot out, it would be incredible to watch. Nobody has or ever will match Wilt’s scoring, and Shaq is probably the most physically imposing man to ever play the game (Wilt is right up there too though). In this match up, I feel like Shaq would get the advantage early. Problem would be though, Wilt would be able to hit the jumper much better than Shaq could, and Shaq would tire down much quicker than Wilt (There’s no disputing this, played more minutes per game than there are actual minutes in a game, Chamberlain’s stamina is without equal in NBA History). I feel like Wilt Chamberlain wins this match up, it would be a good one though obviously.
So there you have it, first ever Saturday Six, the top 6 Dream 1on1 match ups in NBA basketball. Definitely up for debate though, can’t believe I left Magic Johnson out of their, so many possibilities for sure. Enjoy the debate!