"Those little guards" - Michael Jordan names the toughest 1-on-1 matchups of his career

Due to his incredible competitive nature, Michael Jordan rarely gave his rivals special compliments. However, when once quizzed to name the toughest matchups of his Hall of Fame career several years ago, "His Airness" anointed the "little guards" from his era as the ones who gave him the most problems during games.

According to Jordan, guys like Allen Iverson and even Muggsy Bogues were a handful, but when someone from the crowd asked if former New York Knicks guard John Starks was one of them, MJ smiled and said nope.

"The hardest opponent for me to play against in terms of 1-on-1? Small guys: [Allen] Iverson, Damon Stoudamire, Rod Strickland, Muggsy [Bogues]… Those little guards like that, it was hard for me," the six-time NBA champion confided. "Starks?!... [I had] No problem with Starks."

John is at peace

Indeed, we don't need to search for proof that Jordan was one of, if not the most unstoppable player of his generation. And no lies are detected when he says Starks wasn't on the list of players who gave him a hard time on the court. In fact, even Starks once admitted that it was almost impossible to stop Jordan from dominating his opponents, let alone limit him from scoring during 1-on-1 plays.

"I'm not exaggerating that much when I say that MJ could jump out of the gym. And he had those big hands that could palm the ball. He could create space for himself. He was special in that way. When Mike was out there, he was trying to kill your spirit. He took everything personally, and when he stepped out on the court, he felt that he had something to prove every single time. That was just him, whether it was me or whoever else guarding him. His mentality wasn't just to score a lot of points. He wanted to crush your soul," Starks confessed.

Despite often falling short against Jordan, Starks is content knowing he had epic duels with the GOAT.

"After guarding Jordan, I can say that I played against the greatest. Even if I failed a lot of the time, I can live with that," he concluded.

How MJ thinks he would fare in a 1-on-1 game against today's NBA superstars

Smaller guards during MJ's era differed from those in today's NBA. Back then, smaller guards were fast, athletic, and durable, and, more importantly, they played pesky defense. Jordan is not slighting the little guys from this era, but he is confident he has a better chance of beating Steph Curry than LeBron James in a 1-on-1 game. However, that doesn't mean he couldn't maul James as well.

"I'd go against Stephen Curry because I'm a little bit bigger than him so I could back him in, but LeBron's a little bit too big," Jordan assessed. "If I was in my prime, could I beat LeBron in a one-on-one game? No question. And he's going to say no question. [Curry] is a great player. Not a Hall Of Famer yet, though. He's not."

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