King James returned fire, saying he would beat Jordan, who's still widely regarded as the best basketball player ever.
Now, Shaquille O'Neal says there's one man who would beat both iconic players — Julius Erving.
"I've seen young Mike and young LeBron, and I must say Dr. J is still my favorite player," O'Neal told the Associated Foreign Press. "A lot of people today don't even mention his name, but to me, I still think he was the best. But these are questions that we'll never know the answer to. It's a bit like if I met Bruce Lee in an alleyway. Who would win? You'll never know. Some people say, 'Well, Bruce would kick Shaq's a**.' Some people say, 'Well, Shaq is two times bigger than Bruce Lee.' It's a good question, a good conversation, but we'll never know."
Erving, an 11-time NBA All-Star, won one NBA championship and holds the distinction of being the only player to be named MVP in both the NBA and ABA. Yet, as O'Neal alluded to, Erving is sometimes overlooked in the all-time greatest player debates.
Shaq, however, did give an edge to MJ over King James if the two would have played one-on-one in their prime.
"It would be an interesting game," O'Neal said. "Young LeBron was more like Magic Johnson. He was sort of like Magic with Jordan's abilities. He liked to pass, and he liked to get it up. But Mike was Mike. He was just special — like no one else. He always did things no one else could do and things you couldn't compare to anyone else. So he was special, and he'd win."
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(Photos from left: Mark Davis/Getty Images, Streeter Lecka/Getty Images, Jason Miller/Getty Images, Jason Merritt/Getty Images)