Michael Jordan and LeBron James are two of the best players in NBA history. They have had a lot of battles against each other, but this time they decided to pit their teams against one another. The result was an interesting game with Team 23 winning by four points.
Michael Jordan and LeBron James were both born in 1984. They played against each other for the first time in 2003, during the NBA All-Star Game.
We recently discussed how everyone has a favorite number to wear when playing. It typically has emotional significance, or the number is a tale in and of itself for historical reasons. There are some famous players at Nos. 23 and 34, but there is another number that has some of the all-time greats that are often ignored.
No. 24 has a lengthy history of NBA success stories. Players like Bill Bradley, Bill Cartwright, Tom Chambers, Spencer Haywood, Richard Jefferson, Dennis Johnson, Bobby Jones, Sam Jones, and others may be added to our starting lineup. Team No. 24, on the other hand, has a star-studded roster that would give Team No. 23 a fight for its money.
This is what a squad made entirely of players wearing these jerseys might look like in an other world. Who would come out on top in this competition?
LeBron James, Michael Jordan, Jimmy Butler, Draymond Green, and Anthony Davis make up the No. 23 team.
Kobe Bryant, Mark Aguirre, Paul George, Rick Barry, and Moses Malone make up the No. 24 team.
LeBron James vs. Kobe Bryant at point guard
LeBron would be forced to play as the club’s point guard on this squad. At 35 years old, LeBron topped the NBA in assists in 2020. LeBron James knows no limits when it comes to being able to give for a team. He has the ability to be the primary ball handler and create opportunities for the rest of the squad. LeBron would have a lot of scorers on his team, but his best skill is getting into the paint. He’ll have someone open once the defenses fall.
This would put LeBron in a difficult position. Although Kobe Bryant is not a true point guard, he would be the main ball handler in this rotation. Bryant is one of the game’s greatest isolation players, thus Bryant vs. LeBron would be primetime television. Bryant would have a tough time guarding LeBron, but he was a 12-time All-Defensive pick. This would be the final showdown.
Michael Jordan vs. Mark Aguirre at Shooting Guard
What more can be said about Michael Jordan, the six-time NBA Finals MVP? He was a nine-time First-Team All-Defensive player and led the league in scoring 10 times. Jordan is the best basketball player of all time in terms of total performance, therefore whomever he faces will have a difficult time.
This, however, would have an additional layer. Aguirre was a part of the Detroit Pistons’ “Bad Boys” squads in 1989 and 1990. Jordan and the Chicago Bulls were eliminated by those championship teams. The Bulls didn’t beat Detroit until 1991, when Jordan won his first title. Before joining the Pistons, Aguirre was a three-time All-Star with the Dallas Mavericks, averaging 29.5 points per game. Both athletes could go shot for shot in their peak.
Jimmy Butler vs. Paul George at Small Forward
Butler is a top-15 NBA player and one of the league’s best small forwards. Butler is a team player who could do the grunt work for Team No. 23, such as rebounding and defense. He can concentrate on defense with this team’s offensive players, defending either Bryant or Jordan.
George would be in a similar position in some ways. When George is the second attacking option, he is at his best. He’d be number three or four on this squad. As a result, he’ll be able to concentrate on defense as well. Butler and George have a combined nine All-Defensive honors among small forwards in this matchup.
Draymond Green vs. Rick Barry, Power Forward
When facing the legendary Rick Barry, Green would have to be the team’s defensive specialist. Barry, the 2017 Defensive Player of the Year, is accustomed to defending opposing big men, but he wouldn’t be able to stand over Green (6-foot-6) in the post.
Barry, like Green, is one of the most talented all-around players we’ve ever seen. In 1975, Barry was a champion, winning Finals MVP. He was an eight-time All-Star, a previous scoring champion, and the league’s steals leader at one point. Barry was the all-time top scorer in the ABA when he retired. It would be a real mismatch to see Green attempt to defend this.
Anthony Davis vs. Moses Malone in the middle.
In this battle, Davis would have his hands full. Davis, a previous runner-up for Defensive Player of the Year, would have to contain Moses Malone, the three-time MVP, while still providing outstanding scoring down low. Davis is faster and more nimble, but by the end of the night, Davis might be the most important player on both floors.
Malone was a two-time All-Defensive pick and a previous Finals MVP. He has the ability to play both sides of the court as well as anybody. Six times in his career, Malone led the league in rebounding, once averaging a career-high 17.6 boards. Davis, who isn’t renowned for his rebounding, would have to figure out how to play with Malone’s toughness.
Advantages of Team No. 23
This squad has five genuine defenders in addition to having two of the greatest players of all time in LeBron and Michael Jordan. Bryant, Barry, and Malone have the potential to create major issues. The All-Defensive honors bestowed to Team No. 23 should assuage supporters’ fears, since defense wins titles. When everything is said and done, defense will be the name of the game.
Advantages of Team No. 24
The presence of Barry and Malone on this squad creates a significant matchup issue for Green and Davis. To begin with, Malone is a much better rebounder than Davis. There may be chances for a second opportunity. The basket will go in if Bryant and Aguirre are given a second opportunity. Green will have some success against Barry, but Barry has such a strong offensive style that even if Green plays his best defense, Bary will still score over 30 points.
Who Do You Think Would Win?
This will be a considerably more difficult challenge than Team No. 34. It’s worth noting that facing up against ten NBA Finals MVPs in Jordan and LeBron is tough. Defense wins championships, as we have said, and Team No. 23 has the superior defensive team.
Green won Defensive Player of the Year and has been named to the All-Defensive Team five times, while Butler has been named to the All-Defensive Team five times. Davis has previously finished second in the DPOY voting. When you add LeBron, who can make athletic plays in his sleep, you have an unbeatable lineup.
Having said that, Team No. 24 would make this a challenge. Bryant should not be expected to carry the club offensively, particularly if he is also expected to play All-Defensive on the opposite side. Bryant could play head-to-head with either LeBron James or Michael Jordan, but not both at the same time. Aguirre may be able to match Jordan’s shot for shot, but he’s not Michael Jordan. Jordan will carry the team in crunch time towards the conclusion of the night.
Davis would only score eight points in this game, but the club would expect him to devote all of his attention to defense and rebounding. In a difficult battle with Malone, Davis will have 10 rebounds and five blocks. Malone would win the team’s MVP with 20 points and 20 rebounds for Team No. 24, but this would be a low-scoring game.
After being worn out on defense, Bryant would have an off-shooting night. Aguirre and George would be expected to bear the weight, but they aren’t capable of doing so. Team No. 23 would win by ten points in the end, despite Barry and Malone scoring over 20 points apiece. Even though it would be a tighter game, this team’s athleticism and skill are too much.
Michael Jordan and LeBron James against. Giannis Antetokounmpo and Shaquille O’Neal, Team No. 23 vs. Team No. 34
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