LOS ANGELES (CBS/AP) — Did His Airness give Kobe Bryant the edge when it comes to the best one-on-one NBA player of all time?
NBA legend Michael Jordan said that while he believes he could have beaten LeBron James while Jordan was in his prime, he’s not so sure about Bryant.
In a video promoting the NBA 2K14 video game that is being released Tuesday, the Lakers guard and future Hall of Famer was named among a long list of players Jordan said he would like to have competed against in his prime, including Jerry West, Elgin Baylor, Julius Erving, Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade, Bryant and James, who dons the cover of this year’s game.
“I don’t think I would lose,” Jordan said in the video, before smiling and adding, “Other than to Kobe Bryant because he steals all of my moves.”
A viral video posted on YouTube in August makes the argument even more compelling by comparing Jordan and Bryant making seemingly identical plays during their careers, which briefly overlapped in the early 2000s and inspired a 55-point outburst by Bryant during a 2002 game against the Jordan-led Washington Wizards.
The Charlotte Bobcats owner stirred up a similar controversy in an interview with NBATV in February when he said he would draft Bryant over James.
Jordan was listed as 6-foot-6 and 213 pounds during his prime. He averaged 30.1 points, 6.2 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game during his 15 seasons in the NBA.
Jordan, a six-time NBA champion and considered by many the greatest basketball player ever, has had a sponsorship deal with 2K Sports since 2011, when he first appeared on the cover of the popular game. James, 6-8, 250 pounds, has averaged 25.1 points, 6.6 rebounds and 6 assists during his first 10 seasons in the league.
The 50-year-old Jordan, who was a five-time league MVP and is the majority owner of the Charlotte Bobcats, also shared the cover in 2012 with Magic Johnson and Larry Bird.
This year will be the first time on the cover for James, a four-time league MVP who has led the Miami Heat to back-to-back NBA championships.
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