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Michael Jordan says he could beat LeBron 1-on-1 in his prime, but not Kobe, because ‘he steals all my moves’

Dan Devine
Ball Don't Lie

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Ships passing in the night. (David Kyle/NBA/Getty Images)

First, late Monday evening, came this video from the folks at 2K Sports, as part of the promotional efforts for their new game, "NBA 2K14," which hit store shelves Tuesday and features LeBron James on the cover, Kent Bazemore on the bench, Euroleague teams in the mix and LeBron's future in the balance:

OK, so, maybe not quite so "uncensored." But no need to wait to catch the spot on cable sports news — The Associated Press already got behind those bars and beneath those beeps to get the scoop on which players Michael Jordan would have liked to face one-on-one in his prime, if given the opportunity:

In a video promoting the NBA 2K14 video game that is being released today, Jordan said there's a long list of players he would've liked to have played one-on-one — Jerry West, Elgin Baylor, Julius Erving, Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade, [Kobe] Bryant and [LeBron] 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."

On one hand: Ouch, M.J. On the other, well, he's got a point.

Hit the jump for the actually uncensored version of Jordan's remarks, plus some thoughts on the claim.

It is, of course, 0 percent shocking that Michael Jordan thinks that he would be able to beat basically anyone who has ever played in the NBA. That's partly due to the fact that Michael Jordan in his prime was the best basketball player ever, and partly because Jordan at age 50 probably still thinks he could really play in the NBA, and partly because Jordan was, is and forever shall be one of the most maniacally competitive athletes we've ever seen. It would play completely against type for him to ever acknowledge that anyone else could take him down in a man-to-man, head's-up scenario ... unless, of course, he was doing it in a way that took a swipe at one of the many players who've taken aim at entering his rarefied air over the years. (Hey there, Kobe.)

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As was the case when Kobe claimed that the 2012 version of Team USA could beat the 1992 "Dream Team," tale-of-the-tape talk on who'd win a one-on-one matchup between M.J. and LeBron is the kind of classic barroom argument that necessarily ultimately goes nowhere. Maybe James' size, strength and speed would give him an advantage when trying to force his way to the basket; maybe Jordan's metronome-precise footwork would allow him to create space that counteracted LeBron's length, enabling him to take advantage of his superior shot-making. It's impossible to say, really, but I'm willing to bet that won't stop an awful lot of people from sharing their opinions on the matter. We invite you to do the same below.

While we conjure up visions of midstream M.J. staring down the King, Dr. J, the Logo and the Black Mamba Vino (ugh), His Airness wants us to know that even somewhere around seven or eight years ago, he was taking NBA hopefuls to school. As part of the 2K/"SportsCenter" ad rollout, Jordan also shared a story about squaring off against a young, heavily hyped high-schooler named O.J. Mayo, as transcribed by Chris Littmann of the Sporting News:

"In front of my camp, he starts this thing: 'You can't guard me, you can't do this,'" Jordan said. "I've got my campers here, so obviously I can't really go where I want to go because of my camp, so I stop the camp, send the kids to bed, and we go back to playing and he starts this whole thing that, 'You can't guard me, you can't do this,' and finally I said 'Look, you may be the best high school player, but I'm the best player in the world. From this point on, it’s a lesson.' And from that point on, it was a lesson.

"He never won a game. I posted him up. I did everything. If I could ever show you that film ... If you could ever ask him, ask him about the thing that happened at my camp."

I'm sure the Milwaukee Bucks' media can't wait to ask O.J. about that one, and I'm sure he can't wait to share his side. Either way, now we know why Mike didn't include Mayo's name alongside Elgin and D-Wade — it's because he already got him. That clears that up.

[Photos: Celebs, NBA players attend NBA 2K14 premiere]

UPDATE: Kobe, naturally, responds via Twitter:

Well struck, Mr. Bryant.

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