There are lots of cool 1s, but these 10 are the most interesting.
The “best and 1 streetball players” is a list of the 10 greatest players in the sport. The list includes names such as ‘Lebron James’ and ‘Michael Jordan’.
One-on-one matches are a rare occurrence in basketball, particularly amongst superstars. If one-on-one matches occur, they are usually for a few possessions and nearly always result in memorable moments. After all, basketball is a team sport in which five players compete against another five players at the same time. Wouldn’t it be great to see a tournament in which all of the finest players participate in one-on-one battles?
One-on-one battles are becoming less common these days, with so much focus on team play and every player sharing the ball. We do, however, have our imaginations. What if we put some of the best players of all time in one-on-one contests and saw what happened? Could we forecast who will win a certain matchup? Of course, many of the players we’d want to see in one-on-one games have retired or are no longer active in the NBA.
Here are ten of the best one-on-one games we’d want to see, including two opponents with exceptional skill levels and competitiveness. Although most of these athletes are retired, seeing them in their primes facing off would have been the greatest sporting spectacle ever. Without further ado, here are the ten best matches we wish we could watch but will never get the opportunity to do so.
Allen Iverson vs. Kyrie Irving, No. 10
Because they are perhaps the best ball-handlers in NBA history, these two opponents should team up and play one-on-one. Allen Iverson is a first-ballot Hall of Famer who won the MVP award, four scoring crowns, and was a member of 11 All-Star teams. Iverson is usually recognized as one of the top-five scorers of all time because he has everything a scorer need, from abilities to tenacity. Despite his short stature (6’0″), the guard was able to crush opponents with his handling and shooting skills.
Kyrie Irving, on the other hand, is widely recognized as the finest ball-handler in NBA history. When he dribbles, he swivels the ball and is quick enough to get to his positions and draw up for his signature shot. Kyrie has never won a scoring championship, although he is a better shooter than Iverson (39.1 percent from three vs. 31.3 percent) and is somewhat taller (6’2″) than Iverson. Kyrie has a size and shooting advantage over The Answer, but can he beat him in a one-on-one matchup? No, that is not the case. Iverson is a better defender and has a stronger desire to score than anybody else in his position (considering he is a point guard). Irving will therefore be unable to play against a four-time scoring winner.
How would the match go? Iverson would utilize his agility against Kyrie, plus he’s a superior mid-range shooter, so he can get a decent shot pretty much whenever he wants. When Iverson relaxes a little, Kyrie would have no problem completing a few fantastic acrobatic layups and perhaps a handful of three-pointers. Before Iverson gets his mid-range rhythm and takes a 5-point lead, the game will be very level.
Kyrie gets within striking distance of Iverson with a three-pointer and a disputed fadeaway, but he can’t stop The Answer from killing the game with his trademark crossover that leads to a swish. Ultimately, despite the fact that we are discussing exhibition rather than practice, Iverson would defeat Kyrie 21-19.
Allen Iverson defeats Kyrie Irving 21-19.
Larry Bird vs. Kevin Durant, No. 9
Two of the best small forwards in history will face off next. Kevin Durant had a Hall of Fame career as a four-time scoring champion, former MVP, and two-time NBA champion. Nothing is too much for Durant, who can pull up for shots and assault the hoop without hesitation. To be honest, Durant may have been the best all-around scorer ever if he had the passion to score like Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant. However, he is a selfless athlete who favors team sports.
Larry Bird, on the other hand, is a fierce competitor. He never backs down from a challenge and is usually regarded as one of the best ten players of all time as a result. Bird was a great shooter (37.6% from three, 88.6% from the free-throw line) and possessed an unstoppable fadeaway motion that he could use at any time. Bird had a superior all-around game than Durant, including being a better rebounder and passer, as well as having more awards. However, this is a one-on-one skills battle, and only a select few players in NBA history have a chance to beat Kevin Durant.
Bird gets out to a fast start, hitting two consecutive three-pointers and demonstrating his confidence right away. Bird has a 6-0 lead in the game as Durant tries to find his flow. With some trash-talking thrown in for good measure, this contest will heat up until KD hears the sound of the net tearing. Durant goes on a tear, making his next five shots, including a three-pointer and a spin move that leads to a slam.
Bird did not back down, launching a high-arcing shot over Durant’s almost 7-foot frame with his trademark fadeaway jumper. Larry has a 20-18 lead and is on the verge of winning the game when Durant hits a disputed three-pointer and a mid-range shot to stun everyone with a comeback victory. Bird grins as the game concludes 22-20, recognizing he came inches from from beating probably the league’s most unstoppable scoring forward.
Kevin Durant defeats Larry Bird 22-20.
8. Tracy McGrady vs. Kobe Bryant
We are all aware of Kobe Bryant’s magnificence, since he is clearly a top-two shooting guard of all time and a top-10 player overall. Bryant contributed unequaled competitiveness, a drive to be the greatest, and innumerable clutch moments to the game. That’s why Kobe was a five-time champion, two-time scoring champion, and an 18-time All-Star when he retired. He is certainly one of the best scorers of all time, and many consider him to be the king of one-on-one scenarios in his period.
Tracy McGrady, a 6’8″ shooter with limitless range and moves, came dangerously close to Kobe Bryant in his heyday. T-Mac was terrifying to play against because he had the ability to turn it on against anybody and ascend to shoot above any defender. T-Mac would have been the best shooting guard since Michael Jordan if not for Kobe’s presence and unlucky injuries. In one-on-one play, though, it’s impossible to wager against a player who scored 81 points in a single game.
Although Kobe and T-Mac have similar offensive skill sets, Bryant has a killing instinct that cannot be overlooked. As good as McGrady is on offense, he lacks Bryant’s attitude of destroying opponents, which will be on display in this iconic battle. To begin, McGrady and Bryant exchange shots, tying the game at 8-8. However, Kobe has had enough, shutting up T-Mac for several plays before hitting seven consecutive baskets to take a 15-8 lead.
McGrady responds as predicted, but he is unable to prevent Kobe from winning the game. Kobe will need a few attempts to get over the hump, as a 20-12 advantage turns into a 20-18 lead until Bryant eventually gets McGrady with a pump fake and a hoop around the rim.
Kobe Bryant defeats Tracy McGrady 21-18.
7. Tim Duncan vs. Hakeem Olajuwon
We frequently think of scoring guards and forwards with spectacular handles and shooting skills when we think about one-on-one confrontations. Hardcore NBA fans, on the other hand, prefer to watch big guys handle their business down low, like Hakeem Olajuwon and Tim Duncan did throughout their respective eras. Hakeem was a two-time NBA champion, two-time Finals MVP, and two-time Defensive Player of the Year who is considered one of the top five centers of all time. Because of his amazing movement and IQ, his “Dream Shake” move annihilated opponents.
Duncan, on the other hand, was the master of the backboard shot and also had some great post moves. Duncan was mostly known as a team player and defensive stalwart, but he could also score, which is why he averaged over 20 points per game nine times throughout his career. But he’ll never outscore Hakeem, who has averaged 20 points per game 13 times in his career. Duncan will narrowly lose an all-time classic against Olajuwon, who was a greater scorer and also a two-time Defensive Player of the Year.
But how does this fairytale pairing work out? Hakeem gets out to a fast start, hitting three consecutive jumpers from 16 feet. Duncan responds with an easy layup after a backboard jumper, post hook, and pump fake. In a game that is now tied at 18-18, Hakeem falls for a Duncan fake but recovers in time to swat away a wide-open layup.
This shifts the momentum, as “The Dream” lands many possessions with his Dream Shake, putting an end to the best power forward alive. Duncan will not be able to halt Olajuwon’s footwork on the block since he is practically unstoppable against any opponent. Duncan displays his value, but he lacks the attacking skills that Hakeem has.
Hakeem Olajuwon defeats Tim Duncan 21-18.
6. Stephen Curry vs. Allen Iverson
Stephen Curry, without a question, has had the greater career as a point guard, earning three NBA championships and two MVP Awards, as well as being regarded as the best shooter of all time. Curry’s ability to get excellent quality three-point shots and sink them with ease has revolutionized the NBA game for the better. Curry is a two-time scoring champion who is no slouch when it comes to attacking the basket.
Allen Iverson, on the other hand, is a one-of-a-kind player in one-on-one scenarios without the benefit of team play. The Answer has been chastised for being a “selfish” player that tries to win games on his own, which does not benefit the team’s overall performance but does help in one-on-one situations. Iverson is faster than Steph, and he’s more desperate to score at the hoop. He’s also more dominating even when his outside jumper isn’t dropping. This is a tight game once again, but Iverson will be able to capitalize if Curry misses an outside shot.
Curry has an advantage in outside shooting, which will be crucial in taking an early lead. Steph takes an early 7-2 lead on the strength of his outside shooting, but Iverson recognizes that he needs crank up his offensive in order to maintain the ball. The Answer reacts with a three-pointer of his own before slamming consecutive baskets past Curry to knot the score at eight. With Curry’s cold streak continuing, Iverson begins to gain ground.
Iverson begins to rediscover his dribbling rhythm, shattering Curry’s ankles on many occasions and losing him quickly. With a 19-14 lead, Iverson comes close to winning, but Curry hits several threes in a succession to take a 20-19 edge. After a missed layup by Curry, Iverson knows he has to end the game before his opponent has a chance to shoot. The Answer refuses to surrender the ball, winning the game 22-20 on disputed jump shots.
Allen Iverson defeats Stephen Curry 22-20.
5. Magic Johnson vs. Larry Bird
This is a clash between Larry Bird and Magic Johnson, two legends from the 1980s. Bird had a lifetime scoring average of 24.3 points per game, making 37.6% of his three-point attempts and 88.6% of his free throws. Magic, on the other hand, averaged 19.5 points a game while shooting 30.3 percent from three-point range and 84.8 percent from the free-throw line. Of course, both players grew up in an era when outside shots were discouraged, and they never prioritized them.
Magic was underappreciated in one-on-one situations because of his incredible passing ability, and he is without a doubt the best team player ever. But he was big enough to post up, defend, and shoot around the rim with his hook jumper. But he’d never be able to beat Bird one-on-one since the Celtics great was a superior shooter who could win by trash talking.
The game is decided in Bird’s advantage, and it also concludes in his favor. Larry establishes a rhythm right away, hitting 5 shots in a row and trash-talking Magic to death. But, knowing Johnson, he’ll turn that into gasoline. Magic makes a hook jumper and a three-pointer while trash-talking Bird with his big physique.
The game heats up, but Larry is tremendously skilled offensively, and he puts Magic away with a variety of jumpers, step-back shots, and a three-pointer to win by three points. Bird and Magic are two of the best players in NBA history, but their opposing styles of play make for an intriguing clash, despite Bird’s slight advantage.
Larry Bird defeats Magic Jonson 21-18.
4. Wilt Chamberlain vs. Shaquille O’Neal
If Shaq and Wilt were to engage in one-on-one circumstances, it would be a genuine battle of the titans. O’Neal was a gifted center due to his ability to handle the ball, dish, and explode at the rim. Because he was so good at punishing defenders with his enormous stature, Shaq never showcased his full range of abilities.
Wilt Chamberlain, meanwhile, was the most physically imposing player of his day and took advantage of it. Even though Wilt made it seem simple, scoring 100 points in a single game is no easy task. Chamberlain is undoubtedly a top-10 player ever, with a delicate touch around the basket and unequaled agility. It would be incredible to see the two most physically dominating centers ever go to war, but there could only be one winner.
This titanic struggle will be fiercely waged and will go well beyond the Game of 21. Shaq and Wilt both like banging down low, however the former prefers the physical aspect of the game. O’Neal had trouble getting past Wilt’s outstanding length and agility during his first few possessions. Chamberlain’s dribbling and hook shots are on point, and he leads 10-2. However, O’Neal slows the game slowly and uses his strength to tie the game. In a game that lasts over an hour, the big men bounce back and forth, but O’Neal takes advantage of Wilt’s lack of concentration to get a few more shots in the end.
Wilt and Shaq were the same height, but Shaq was approximately 50 pounds heavier. This one would go down to the wire, but Shaq would win because he had a full arsenal of offensive maneuvers at his disposal to edge out the seven-time scoring champion, despite the fact that it would be the closest game thus far.
Shaquille O’Neal defeats Wilt Chamberlain 24-22.
3. Kevin Durant vs. LeBron James
Because they are the two best small forwards since Larry Bird was the face of the NBA, matchups between LeBron James and Kevin Durant are always entertaining to watch. LeBron James is a superior all-around player and team player, dictating game outcomes with his playmaking abilities. James is also a great rebounder and one of the most athletic wing players in NBA history. But, in a one-on-one matchup, can he beat Durant?
Durant is a four-time scoring champion with superior shooting skills (38.4% from three-point range, 88.2% from the free-throw line) and a smoother swing than The King. Durant is a superior shooter and somewhat taller than James, but he lacks physical girth and will struggle to halt James’ drives to the basket. They’ll both be capable on defense, however The King’s raw size will cause Durant a lot of difficulties.
Durant and James battle it out until the score is evened at 15, at which point the former begins to find his stride. Kevin takes an early 18-15 lead and seems to have an open path to the basket. James completes an incredible chasedown block by slamming the miss off the backboard and then burying a long three-pointer. This play instills incredible confidence in The King and allows him to take a commanding lead.
James gets a layup and a jumper to take a 20-18 lead, but a disputed layup cannot put Durant away. Durant’s fast shot bounces around the hoop a few of times before going through with a shooter’s touch. Kevin then hits a three-pointer to take the lead, but he misses a chance to put The King away with a miss. To win a tough game, LeBron refuses to give the ball back, attacking the hoop and finishing on a weakened Durant.
LeBron James defeats Kevin Durant 23-21.
2. Kobe Bryant vs. Michael Jordan
Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant going head-to-head at shooting guard would be incredible to see. They are without a doubt the two best scoring guards in NBA history, with a combined 12 scoring crowns (Jordan with 10). This matchup will be the most competitive on the list, as well as the one that the majority of fans are most interested in seeing. Michael was the first dominating shooting guard, scorching defenses and won Defensive Player of the Year.
Kobe Bryant scored 81 points in a single game and single-handedly outscored an NBA club for three quarters, achievements that are unlikely to be repeated. Bryant was somewhat smaller in muscle mass and had smaller hands than Jordan, giving MJ the advantage in one-on-one situations. Bryant was Jordan’s disciple, and they were practically identical players. Jordan, on the other hand, is the most talented athlete in history and the greatest player ever, thus he will edge Bryant in a thrilling game.
Jordan and Bryant are almost equal in their approach to the game, making this maybe the most competitive battle. When Michael Jordan hits a jumper, Kobe responds by collecting a miss. Jordan, on the other hand, constantly reacts when Bryant gets hot. The difference here is the sort of shots that both players attempt, as Bryant is unable to take advantage of a 21-20 lead after Jordan tips a difficult layup by The Black Mamba.
Jordan gets the following two points after blocking Kobe’s jumper, but Bryant responds with two more. Jordan isn’t fooled by Kobe’s pump impersonations. Kobe takes a disputed jumper with Jordan all over him, knowing he has a chance to beat his hero and show he is a superior offensive player. The ball just rims out, allowing Michael to pick apart Kobe with two consecutive jumpers and a disputed layup to show he is the best one-on-one player in history.
Michael Jordan defeats Kobe Bryant 25-23.
1. LeBron James vs. Michael Jordan
What is the name of the GOAT? In most disputes, Michael Jordan had the upper hand, yet the newer generation of fans has seen LeBron James’ magnificence to this day. This battle is at the top of the list because it is so crucial to the never-ending GOAT discussion. When compared to LeBron James, Michael is undoubtedly the superior scorer, with ten scoring championships and a lifetime PPG average of 30.1. (27.0 PPG with 1 scoring title).
On and off the court, James is undoubtedly a stronger team player than Michael, and he improves everyone around him. The King is the greatest player of all time, but can he beat Michael Jordan in a one-on-one matchup? The answer is obviously no. Jordan is the best one-on-one player of all time, and if he can beat Kobe Bryant in that category, he can beat LeBron James as well. Jordan is the greatest individual talent in basketball history, and his domination on both ends of the court will almost certainly never be matched.
Michael performs at a high level whenever he has something to prove or someone to quiet. To begin the game, Michael and LeBron exchange jumpers, but James begins attacking the rim, causing issues for the Chicago Bulls great. Surprisingly, James has a 15-13 advantage. However, LeBron commits a critical error by falling in love with his jumper.
When The King begins missing shots, Michael notices this and takes advantage of it. Jordan is on a roll, knocking down jumpers and finishing near the basket with his agility and verticality. Michael won’t let a larger player get to the hoop easily, and he knows where to go to get rebounds and make his effective shots. With a bucket, Michael takes the lead, but LeBron misses a contested layup, which Jordan swallows up before finishing him off with a step-back jumper.
Michael Jordan defeats LeBron James 21-19.
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