Basketball fans and analysts always love to imagine what it would be like if legends from different eras got a chance to face off against each other. Los Angeles Lakers legend Shaquille O’Neal is no different, and he recently said that a Big 3 of LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and himself would sweep Michael Jordan, Larry Bird and Hakeem Olajuwon in a seven-game series.
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It’s definitely a bold statement from O’Neal and one that will surely receive lots of pushback and support. After all, each of the players involved in the hypothetical matchup have very passionate fans.
All six of the players are constantly mentioned as some of the best to ever play the sport, so it’s certainly awesome for fans of the game to imagine what the games would’ve been like.
O’Neal is considered to be one of the most dominant players of all time, having averaged 23.7 points, 10.9 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game during his career. He’s a 15-time All-Star, four-time champion, three-time Finals MVP and one-time MVP.
Bryant recorded 25.0 points, 5.2 rebounds and 4.7 assists per game during his 20-year career with the Lakers. The one-time MVP was named an All-Star 18 times and won five NBA titles. He tragically passed away in January 2020, but his memory continues to live on in the lives of basketball fans around the world.
James is the lone active player in the matchup, as he’s in his fifth season with the Lakers. He holds career averages of 27.1 points, 7.5 rebounds and 7.3 assists per game. Barring something unforeseen, the four-time champion will become the league’s all-time leader in points scored this season.
Jordan is consistently mentioned alongside James as one of the two best players to ever play basketball. During his career, the Chicago Bulls legend won six NBA titles and five MVP awards. He averaged 30.1 points, 6.2 rebounds and 5.3 assists.
Bird was one of the best players in the league during his career and averaged 24.3 points, 10.0 rebounds and 6.3 assists per game. He’s a 12-time All-Star, three-time champion and three-time MVP. The Hall of Famer played for the Boston Celtics during his entire career and was a thorn in the sides of Lakers fans for many years.
As for Olajuwon, the Nigeria native averaged 21.8 points, 11.1 rebounds and 3.1 blocks per game during his career. He won two NBA titles, two Defensive Player of the Year awards and one MVP award.
It’s certainly fun to imagine what would happen between the two teams in a seven-game series. Bryant and Jordan would surely guard each other. Bryant and James would likely face off against one another while O’Neal and Olajuwon would go head to head down low.
Curious fans can use the latest version of NBA 2K if they’re interested in seeing what might’ve happened had all of these players played each other.