Kobe Bryant vs. LeBron James and Other NBA 1-on-1 Matchups We Would Love to See

Matt JonesAnalyst IAugust 5, 2011

Kobe Bryant vs. LeBron James and Other NBA 1-on-1 Matchups We Would Love to See

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    If you have ever picked up a basketball, you have probably played a game of one on one.

    Maybe you matched up against a brother or a friend, or maybe you remember the time you hit the winning shot to finally beat Dad for the first time.

    One on one is the ultimate individual basketball game. There is no one to pass to, no one to set a pick, and you can't get bailed out by a teammate.

    Unlike playing HORSE or Around the World, a game of on on one will prove once and for all who the better player is, at least until you play again.

    This is a game that is played on basketball courts all across the world, and NBA players are no different.

    With the NBA lockout dragging on and players wondering if they will play overseas, I propose a different sort of competition to keep players busy and to determine who really is the top dog of the NBA.

    I even had a reader suggest in one of my past articles that the league start a one-on-one competition during All-Star weekend.

    The following slides will show 20 players that should get together to play in the ultimate of basketball competition, claim bragging rights and find out who really is the best.

    I know that there are thousands of good pairings that could be made in the league, and I have left off some good ones.

    Who would you like to see play? Who would be the winner for each of these game or any that you come up with?

    What other players need to play for bragging rights?

    After the slides, leave me a comment and let me know. 

Rules of the Game

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    While there are many ways to play one on one, the rules for this game are simple.

    Starting the game: The player who has been in the league longer gets to choose whether he or his opponent will shoot a three-point shot to determine who gets the ball first.

    The shot can be taken anywhere along the arc.

    If the shot is made, the player who made it gets the ball first. If it is missed, the other player will start the game on offense.

    Playing the Game: The game will be played to 11, and a player must win by two points or be the first to reach 15. Each shot is worth only one point no matter where it is shot from.

    Players will alternate possession after each shot, with "winners" at six (Once a player reaches six points, they get the ball back after a made basket and keep possession until they miss or they commit a turnover).

    After each made basket, the player who has possession will start the ball at the top of the key. The ball must be checked before play.

    If the shot is missed, the offensive player can shoot again, and the defensive player must clear the ball behind the three-point line before scoring.

    Players will call their own fouls. When there is a foul, play will restart at the top of the key.

    After the Game: The winning player is entitled to not only bragging rights but is expected to remind the loser about the game every chance they get. Maybe the stakes could be higher, and the loser would have to do something embarrassing.

J.R. Smith vs. Monta Ellis

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    With the shooting ability that these two players have, this game could be over very quickly. The opening shot may be the most important, because the first one to six would have a big advantage. The other player may not get the ball back.

    J.R. Smith and Monta Ellis are both known for not hesitating to throw up a shot from just about anywhere on the court.

    Neither player is known for playing much defense, and this game of one on one would come down to whoever misses the most shots. With these two sharpshooters, it may not be many.

    Maybe these two could play for more than bragging rights. Maybe the loser should pay for the winner to get a new tattoo.

Kevin Durant vs. Dirk Nowitzki

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    After his team lost to the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA Playoffs last season, Kevin Durant would love the opportunity to get a little bit of revenge against Dirk Nowitzki.

    After dropping 66 points in a street ball game, Durant is ready to prove that he is the next best player in the NBA.

    Having just won the NBA championship and beating LeBron James and the Heat, Nowitzki would be out to show once again that he is not done yet and is still one of the best scorers in the league.

    Durant and Nowitzki are two of the more difficult players to guard one on one, which could lead to an exciting matchup.

J.J. Barea vs. Andrew Bynum (Round 2)

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    While this may look like a huge mismatch, there is a good chance that round two ends up the same as round one did, with Andrew Bynum walking off the court angry and shirtless.

    Usually in one on one the player with the size advantage will beat the smaller player, but this pair might be different. There is a good chance that the smaller Barea would run circles around Bynum again and frustrate him into another cheap shot.

    No matter who wins this one, it will be interesting to see the two play.

    If the game turns out to be too much of blowout, maybe they can play two on two with the players in the other size mismatch later in this list.

Paul Millsap vs. Carlos Boozer

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    When the two played together in Utah, Carlos Boozer was the starter, and Paul Millsap the backup.

    As Boozer continued to miss games due to injury and Millsap developed, many in Utah felt that it was not a great loss when Boozer left to play for Chicago.

    Millsap is a hard worker and has a better outside shot, but neither is known for playing good defense.

    This matchup may prove to be too easy for Millsap, as Boozer would most likely only yell at him on his way to the hoop instead of play defense.

    The whole game may be in jeopardy because there is a good chance that Boozer gets hurt on the way to the arena and can't play anyway.

Stephen Curry vs. Jimmer Fredette

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    Even though Jimmer Fredette has not yet played a game in the league, he is a good candidate for a game of one on one.

    Fredette and Stephen Curry have been two of the most electrifying college basketball players in recent years. Both took their teams into the NCAA tournament and were dominating scorers at that level.

    While Curry has the advantage of playing in the NBA for the last several seasons, Jimmer is not one to back down from a challenge.

    Expect this game to feature a lot of outside shooting from very long range. If one of them gets hot early, it could be over soon.

    These two may force a rule change that awards two points for a shot made behind the half-court line. Don't be surprised if either player shoots from there.

Derrick Rose vs. Russell Westbrook

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    The rivalry for Derrick Rose and Russell Westbrook goes all the way back to their college days when they met in the 2008 NCAA Final Four.

    That night, Rose and his Memphis Tigers beat UCLA before going on to lose in the championship game.

    As two of the best young point guards in the league, Westbrook and Rose would make for an intriguing bout.

    Having won an MVP award, Rose has an advantage in terms of success in his NBA career, but there is a good chance that Westbrook will win a title first with Kevin Durant on his side.

    One thing is certain, whichever player is the winner may have to take on some of the other elite point guards to win the title of best point guard in the league.

Blake Griffin vs. Carmelo Anthony

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    After sitting out for what would have been his rookie season with an injury, Blake Griffin took the league by storm last year. Very few nights went by without seeing a highlight of another amazing dunk.

    Not only did he leap a car in the slam dunk competition, he may have actually started the process of making the Clippers a relevant team.

    For the last eight years, Carmelo Anthony has been one of the best scorers in the league averaging nearly 25 points per game for his career.

    After a midseason trade that sent him to be teammates with Amare Stoudemire in New York, Anthony is ready for a new start whenever the season begins.

    While Anthony is a bit smaller, the two are similar in athleticism, ability and scoring numbers for last season.

    This game would have a little bit of it all, outside shooting, great dunks and maybe even a little bit of defense.

    Anthony had better be careful though, if he stands still, Griffin may think he is a Kia and attempt to jump over him for a dunk.

Dwight "Superman" Howard vs. Nate "Kryptonite" Robinson

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    After a quick change in a phone booth to transform into Superman in the 2009 NBA Slam Dunk Contest, Dwight Howard threw down a dunk on a 12-foot hoop.

    With a perfect score of 50, Howard thought that he had won the contest.

    It was not until the 5'9" Robinson, wearing a green Kryptonite uniform and dunking a green ball, jumped over the 6'11" Howard to win the contest.

    Even though Kryptonite took out Superman on that night, it just does not seem right to end the saga with the superhero losing.

    Perhaps a quick game of one on one could finally decide the battle between good and evil.

    Howard obviously has a huge size advantage, but don't count out Robinson who is one of the toughest, most competitive players in the league.

    Like J.J. Barea against Andrew Bynum, Robinson may hit some shots from outside, run circles around Howard and steal a win.

Deron Williams vs. Chris Paul

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    In the 2005 NBA draft, the Utah Jazz traded up to select Deron Williams one spot before the New Orleans Hornets drafted Chris Paul.

    Since that time, the two have been compared to each other in every category and in every way imaginable.

    While Paul has enjoyed a bit more popularity around the league, Williams has usually gotten the better of the head to head match ups.

    There is still a debate in the league over which one is actually the better player.

    This game would determine who is the most dominant guard and which one could have bragging rights.

    They may have to also play against Derrick Rose or Rajon Rondo to see which point guard is the best in the whole league, but this would be a great start.

    Maybe the prize for the winner is to be able to move to New York to create a super team with Amar'e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony.

Kobe Bryant vs. LeBron James

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    Even though their teams meet every season, two games per year is not enough to determine which one is really the best player in the league.

    Kobe obviously has the edge in career success but also has played a few more seasons than James. After teaming up with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami, it is possible that James will end his career with as many titles as Kobe even though it did not work last season.

    The two are the most recognizable and popular players in the world right now, and a one-on-one game would make for one of the most interesting sporting events of the year.

    Maybe it could be a pay-per-view event that might have as many subscribers as UFC or the Lingerie Bowl.

    If the Black Mamba and King James were to meet for a game of one on one, they could decide once and for all who the best player is, and the winner would have bragging rights forever, or at least until they play again.

    So who will it be Kobe or LeBron?

    Let's get a good discussion going over who wins these games. With the lockout on, do we really have much else to do?

    Check out my other recent articles:

    Jazz' 10 Most Bizarre Moments

    Stars the League Should Have in a Legends Game

    NBA and Rock and Roll: Comparing Every Team to a Famous Rock Band

    Follow me on Twitter @JazzRSLExaminer 


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