There’s only one player in NBA history to hold a winning record against Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James.
Basketball history over the past 30 years can be neatly split into decades dominated by 1 wing player each. The 90s were ruled by Michael Jordan and his Chicago Bulls.
Kobe Bryant is considered the best player of the noughties, and certainly the most iconic. LeBron James is the uncontested GOAT of the 2010s. So clearly, these are 3 players who have terrorized the rest of the league with their play.
There isn’t a single player over the last 30 years who didn’t grow up idolizing and copying these 3 legends. Anyone who says otherwise is flat out lying to you. Michael Jordan, especially, is more of a myth than a man to some current players.
That doesn’t mean that nobody’s ever given these players the business. If you’re well-versed enough with basketball history, you’ll know that all 3 of them had one arch-nemesis they couldn’t really hold down.
The obvious choice for Michael Jordan and his Bulls is Isiah Thomas and his Bad Boy Pistons. For LeBron, the easiest choice is Steph Curry and his Warriors, though Tim Duncan’s Spurs also have a shout.
By contrast, Kobe Bryant played 20 years in the league, without any team dominating his lineups consistently. But there’s one player who clearly got the better of him in their lone playoff matchup during Kobe’s peak.
Chauncey Billups has a winning record against Michael Jordan, LeBron James and Kobe Bryant
Former Detroit Pistons legend Chauncey Billups has been put up to the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame twice. He’s been a finalist on both occasions, but he’s yet to be inducted to the pantheon of those legends.
Billups’ case for the Hall of Fame is built on how he made players better around him. Following 3 shaky years at the start of his career, Billups first began affecting proceedings when he joined the Timberwolves and Kevin Garnett.
Detroit found him to be an intriguing prospect after year 5, so they brought him on board. What resulted after that was one of the best spells of success for any franchise in league history. The Pistons made 6 straight runs to the Conference Finals or better with Billups on their roster.
Over the course of his 17-year career, including both the regular season and playoffs, Billups compiled a winning record against Michael Jordan (6-4), Kobe Bryant (24-21), and LeBron James (22-17).
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One would hope that Chauncey makes it to that much-vaunted stage at some point in the near future. The man is too steeped within NBA folklore to be left out of the Hall of Fame. Steve Ballmer is certainly making full use of the 2004 NBA Champion and Finals MVP’s insights.