Michael Jordan and LeBron James are the two most dominant players of their respective generations, and, for many, first and second on the list of all-time NBA players.
While the GOAT debate is one where both sides are firmly entrenched, with nothing this side of James rattling off three more championships changing the Jordan side, there is little doubt of their credentials as the best player of their generation. Few players have more experience playing against those two superstars than those on the current Golden State Warriors and the Detroit Pistons of the early 90s.
Isiah Thomas and Joe Dumars of those Bad Boy Pistons teams and the Splash Brothers, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, of the Warriors recently sat down for an interview special that will air at 10:30 p.m. ET on NBA TV. Among the things discussed was the challenge of playing against LeBron and Jordan, and how sometimes you can’t help but marvel at what they’re able to do on the court.
As Curry notes, LeBron has an ability to dictate the pace and flow of a game like few every have been able to, and his combination of strength and touch allows him to effectively negate even the best defense against him. Jordan was similarly capable of freakish athletic feats and Thomas can’t help but laugh at the way Dumars tenses up just thinking about having to go against Jordan. Both pairs also noted that playing Jordan and LeBron does help to bring out the best in you as a player, because you know the only choice you have is to bring it.
Both the Warriors and Pistons had plenty of success against their superstar rival, with Golden State winning three of four Finals against James’ Cavs and the Pistons serving as a constant roadblock to Jordan early in his career, beating his Bulls twice en route to championships. Winning those titles by beating all-time great players helps make those accomplishments all the more meaningful.