“Only Kobe Bryant and LeBron James could play in my era”: When Michael Jordan gave the Lakers legends their flowers alongside Tim Duncan and Dirk Nowitzki

Michael Jordan claimed that the only 4 players from the era that followed his era of basketball players could match up against him.


The arguments on whether the NBA has gotten soft as time has gone by in terms of the players and the way the game’s being officiated is one that was prevailed for quite some time now. No matter the caliber of the player, whether it’s LeBron James or Marcus Morris, complaining for missed foul calls or wrong calls has become a staple for today’s NBA.

Legends of the past have notably been quite critical of the direction the league has been heading to this past decade as Michael Jordan isn’t exempt from this list. Understandably so, as going up against physical teams like the ‘Bad Boy’ Pistons and the 90s New York Knicks over the course of multiple seasons is something only players of that era could ever hope to experience.

There is almost no chance that squads featuring guys like Bill Laimbeer or Dennis Rodman would have any success in today’s NBA considering the outrageous amount of fouls that get called every night. Most notably, Game 2 of the Portland-Denver series had nearly 50 foul calls throughout the 48 minutes of play.

Michael Jordan gives his picks for players who could play in his era.

Michael Jordan has been quoted as saying players nowadays are a bit soft and that 90s defenses and the players that resided in that era will always prevail against players that currently play in the league. In a 2013 interview with EPN’s Wright Thompson, Jordan talked about the comparison between two separate eras.

Here, Thompson would ask the ‘GOAT’ about who he believes can successfully transition from the 2010s era of basketball to the 90s or 80s. Jordan however, could only muster the ability to say 4 names: LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Dirk Nowitzki, and Tim Duncan.

Also read: “LeBron James looked overwhelmed against Devin Booker and the Suns”: Skip Bayless goes off on Lakers MVP for ‘hitting a wall’ in Anthony Davis’s absence

Three of those 4 players have actually played in the 90s and found a great deal of success in those first few years of their careers too. Kobe Bryant won his first title in the 1999-2000 season while being named an All-Star in 1998 as well. Tim Duncan had won his first title in 1999, a year prior to Kobe, and Dirk was putting up All-Star caliber numbers in that era too.

Though LeBron James was not in the league for the ‘hand-checking’ era, it’s clear that he’s not soft. The amount of and-1s he’s had where a player on the opposing team grabs onto the entirety of his body is quite ridiculous. As Michael Jordan said, the 4x champ would have no problem in shifting to the 1990s.


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